Thursday, September 19, 2013



What more fitting silent language symbol to start this blog with than the Princess of Fruits, the pineapple?

The pineapple is the symbol of warmth , wealth, welcome, generosity and hospitality.  But how did this unique fruit become to represent all of that?

When it was first introduced in Europe in the late fifteenth century the delicious fruit was a rare commodity.  All efforts to grow it outside of a greenhouse basically failed because of its need for tropical heat and moisture.  Therefore it was quite expensive to be able to serve this delicacy. This easily covered the symbolism of wealth.

If you were truly a welcomed guest to be shown the utmost in hospitality then a pineapple was set out in your honor and of course eventually was served at a meal while you were there. 

To give one as a gift was considered the top of generosity. 

Of course not all good hostesses could afford such luxury, yet they wanted to show their guests they were truly welcome, so soon the pineapple was woven into the creative arts of the time.  Pineapple quilts, knobs on bedposts and other furniture. Planters and other decorative pottery were painted with pictures of the pineapple and so the use of this symbol spread.

It was portrayed in the stone facades of government buildings, churches and other public places where the general population was certain to see it.

In homes it spread to any area guests might be “welcomed” in, fireplace surrounds, screens and mantels.  The knobs on the banisters in the front hall, on the front door itself or on a transom above the door. 

The people of Scotland had a unique love for the pineapple that was first cultivated there in as early as 1732.  Here too they were included in architecture.  They seemed to feel the old adage "bigger is better" when incorporating this interesting fruit in their lives.

The Scotsman John Murray, Lord Dunsmore, who was the last colonial governor of Virginia pushed the architecture to unusual limits when he put in the formal gardens at his estate near Airth including a garden house that was a 37 foot  tall pineapple.

To this day it is often found in quilts that adorn beds both abroad and here in the United States.

On the other hand if the welcoming pineapple of any sort was removed from the room in which you were staying it was also a polite way of telling you had over stayed your welcome and it was time for you to leave.

Here on Jan’s Wordless Words the pineapple will always be out for you.  May you enjoy all that it symbolizes.

Jan who enjoys knowing the silent languages of the world in OK

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