Every Host Should Know the Meaning of the Pineapple

3 Fresh pineapples sitting on a cocktail table ready for the Sun Cookery Pineapples on the Patio hosting box to be opened.
Photo credit: Aneris Photography

Joe Riley Waterfront Park Charleston, S.C.

I am so excited to share why every host should know the meaning of the pineapple! I’m also sharing fun insights on the pineapples origins, a recipe, and how it inspired our Pineapples on the Patio Hosting Box!

This iconic symbol of hospitality, the glorious crowned pineapple, is the driving force behind our Pineapples on the Patio Hosting Box. However, the inspiration began 6 years earlier, in April 2017, when I visited the beautiful island of Eleuthera, Bahamas. During this trip, I discovered the pineapple’s origins, a delicious pineapple cocktail, and how the pineapple cemented itself as the iconic symbol for hospitality and welcoming others into your home.

Sun Cookery Pineapples on the Patio hosting box with 4 pineapple vessels!
Sun Cookery’s Pineapple on the Patio Hosting Box with reversible tropical colored tray and 4 pineapple vessels!

Where does the Pineapple Come from?

My earliest memory of pineapples is from a picture of my mom standing in front of a pineapple field when my parents took a trip to the Aloha state. I just assumed from that point that Hawaii was home to the pineapple, when in fact, the pineapple is native to South America. Historical research confirms that Christopher Columbus initially brought the pineapple to Europe in the 1600’s and after many years Europeans succumbed to the fact that Europe was not the ideal climate for growing pineapples. However, they were loved because of their delicious sweetness and their rarity in that part of the world–so, the jewel of South America rose to become a symbol of status and later rose to international fame as the symbol of hospitality.

Thankfully, by the early 1800’s, Americans became the recipients of all the pineapples they could want thanks to the cultivation & exporting of pineapples that started in the lovely island of Eleuthera, Bahamas. Bahamians celebrate their love of the pineapple annually with a pineapple festival every June!

The Pineapple as a Symbol for Hospitality in the South

While the pineapple became readily available across the United States, it also found its way to becoming a symbol of hospitality and firmly planted itself in the homes and traditions of Southerners. In particular, Charleston, South Carolina is a haven of pineapples everywhere you go. From the famous pineapple fountain (seen below) and throughout historic downtown you will see countless odes to the pineapple on doorsteps, front doors, stoops, and welcome mats. Not to mention, the abundance of home goods everywhere that love to pay tribute to the pineapple, like the glasses you can find in our Pineapples on the Patio hosting box!

There are countless stories about how the pineapple came to leave its mark all along the South . . .

  • Mariners returning from sea after long voyages would set out a pineapple by their front door or stoop. The intention was to communicate to neighbors, family, and friends that they were home safely AND ready to welcome guests.
  • Another backstory on the pineapple, stems from Europe, where having this rare and much treasured food became a symbol of wealth and hosts would often set the fruit in the middle of the table. They would not cut it or eat it! Instead, the pineapple served as the centerpiece of the dining experience for guests to admire.

I now know that it was likely a combination of these two stories that inspired Southern hosts to embrace the beautiful, golden pineapple. It is a Southerners way to welcome everyone into their homes and also, politely let you know when to leave! Yes, there are some hosts who continue the tradition of managing guests, by gently removing the pineapple from the table when it is time to wrap up the affair and send guests on their merry way! Now y’all know why every host should know the meaning of the pineapple!

Using the Pineapple while Hosting

While some hosts balk at the idea of using the pineapple as an event management technique, at Sun Cookery, we believe that welcoming your guests is an exciting part of the night and that the exit strategy can be challenging at times. Especially when you are hosting with intention, love, and zest–no one wants to leave a great party-right! We have a fun suggestion the next time you are hosting at home and you have some guests still indulging while you are ready to get to your beauty rest! Ask your merrymakers to gather round and share the fun history of the pineapple (make sure you have a pineapple in hand!). Then kindly and lovingly let them know that by sharing this story, you are also saying: “This lovely affair is coming to an end. I bid y’all adieu until next time!”

I promise you’ll get a few laughs, kind smiles and a good night’s rest. Who knows? Maybe the pineapple story starts a new tradition and you can be on the lookout to see if pineapples start showing up at other hosted events!

Have Fun Hosting with the Symbol of Hospitality!

Regardless of how you use the pineapple, remember that it is so much more than a sweet crown of decadence for making unique cocktails, tropical salsas, and the perfect grilled sidekick to vanilla ice cream. It is in fact the most famous icon for hosting at home! We just love her in all her glory!

Before your next hosted soiree, remember this: Your home is where you share the best of yourself with others! Invite someone over! Welcome them with intention! And have fun hosting at home! Join the Sun Cookery mission, start hosting at home today, and share why every host should know the meaning of the pineapple!


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