What does the pineapple mean?!

Pineapple Symbolism Investigation! Why Are Pineapples Popular?

In this article, we go over pineapple symbolism and meaning so that we can get an understanding for why pineapples are so popular right now. Let's GO!

Share like a pineapple:

Pineapple Symbolism and Why pineapples are popular!

Today, I'd like to share my pineapple symbolism investigation.  My past research into finally proving who the author is for the pineapple quote Be a Pineapple: Stand Tall Wear a Crown and Be Sweet on the Inside has really helped out a lot of people and I now see many people actually crediting her.

I didn't know the history of what a pineapple represents. After all, I started this whole project because I was utilizing the pineapple emoji. Here's how my interactions usually worked:

I'm asked, what's the deal with the pineapple? Why are pineapples popular? What does the pineapple symbolize?

My typical answer is: “Because, Pineapples.”

Usually, my response is good enough (no it's not). But people smile and ask more questions as I stand there taking photos of a pineapple. Wait. Okay. I think I'm going to start to ramble off-course here. What were we doing?

Yes, we've got to dig into pineapple symbolism and it's popularity.

Early Pineapple Meaning, Symbolism, and Discovery

The story of the popularity of the pineapple goes back to the European discovery of the fruit. It was the great Christopher Columbus, travelling to the Caribbean and getting his first taste of the golden delicious fruit. A fruit so fresh and so sweet was rare for European culture at the time and if you were to import such sweets, it would be a high price to pay. Instantly the pineapple became the fruit of the Kings. The pineapple suddenly became a luxury and meant royalty.

Royal Gardener John Rose and King Charles II -Hendrick Danckerts 1675
King Charles portrait with a pineapple being presented as a gift. Pineapple Symbolism is born

Even hundreds of years later, into the 1600s, just as Europeans finally figured out how to grow the pineapple, King Charles II decided to pose for a portrait receiving a pineapple as a gift. At the time, pineapple symbolism was born. The humble tropical fruit was a symbolic representation of royal privilege and luxuriousness.

So, essentially we have the king to thank for the popular photos where you pose with a pineapple. Man, I wonder if he expected the trend to last this long!

Across the world, in American Colonies, the pineapple began to take on other symbolic meanings. Back around this time, the colonies did not have Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or texting. Because of limited ways to communicate, the act of actually visiting people was the primary means of entertainment. Hospitality became a very important element of culture.

Hard to buy Pineapple

The costliness of the pineapple continued for a long time due to the means of travel. Ships would leave the Caribbean packed with preserved pineapple treats as well as whole pineapple. The whole pineapple was even more expensive and difficult to obtain due to the incredibly slow transport on wooden boats. The whole pineapples would typically rot before the ships would arrive at the destination.

Only the fastest of ships in positive weather scenarios would deliver the whole fruits. It was usually the port cities that could get these.

Pineapples Popular and In Demand

Pineapple Popularity is celebrated with a party

All this said, we lead into why the pineapple continues to be so popular. The popularity was based on how high the demand was while the supply was so low. When entertaining and hosting friends, the ability to have a pineapple at the even said much about their rank as it did their resourcefulness. Wow, Pineapple Parties go way back!

Believe it or not, homeowners often rented the in-demand pineapple from the colonial confectionery stores and when they were done, the same fruit was then sold to more affluent clients who could afford to actually eat it.

The act of using pineapple in your feast signified that the host of the event spared no expense to please guests. It was because of these wealthy type events that the pineapple became a visual keystone and status symbol, symbolizing and expressing warmth, good cheer, and good vibes towards the attendees.

Southern states especially found great pride and hospitality in the pineapples dating back to the 1650s. We could thank sea captains because they would return from long voyages and place the golden fruits outside of their homes to encourage visitors and welcome guests. Later, you'd start to see the fruit take new form in front of homes as flags, door knockers, welcome mats, and even carved window shutters.

Pineapple Symbolism & The Power for Good

Today, the pineapple as a symbol remains so popular in many households around the world. The simple image of the pineapple brings warmth. The pineapple means to be a welcome item to visitors and also to your own wellbeing. A big reason why I create pineapple photo collections for people to use.

 The pineapple is a symbol of good luck! Because of its many eyes, it sees the opportunity ahead and faster than others.

It blends in naturally with every decor and lifestyle and remains popular because of this all. It's actually one of the additional reasons we offer pineapple stickers! See where people are putting their pineapple decals

If we look into Google trends, we can see that the interest, over many years, for the term “pineapple” just continues to grow. Seriously, let's look at the live interest from Google and go back to 2004:

Geez, these pineapples really hit in August of 2008. I wonder what was going on then, eh?! Seems like a reason for another investigation later. haha.

If you're still wondering why the pineapple is so popular, just know that it's not a trend or fad. It's history and tradition that keep the pineapple front and center in our culture today. The image of summer and tropical adventure don't hurt it's popularity either. And, it's always summer somewhere.

Pineapple Symbolism at Work. Meeting new people in Toronto because of a pineapple
Pineapple Symbolism at Work. Meeting new people in Toronto because of a pineapple

It's a connection medium.

Today we can see the pineapple on almost anything and shared in ways never imagined back in the 1600s. If you've never looked on Instagram, the #pineapple hashtag has over 5.5 million images. It's common to see people doing their own impression of the King's selfie with a pineapple. The pineapple can even stop other people dead in the street to connect as I witnessed personally while photographing a pineapple. Because of this, I get to meet a few random people that I would have otherwise never got to connect with.

As well, the pineapple is on any product you could imagine. We can wear it around on shirts, hats, jewelry and more. We're now even seeing certain lifestyle products made out of pineapple plant leaves instead of cow leather!

A Symbol of Hospitality

When starting to photograph pineapples, I had no idea about the history or tradition that makes pineapples popular even today. The pineapples image must simply trigger this history within us. I mean, I started using the pineapple emoji to express warmth, optimism, and affection to fellow co-workers instead of using a thumbs up. I also, leave a pineapple in thanks for the hospitality of Air B and B hosts.

Today, it's the mission of Pineapple Supply Co. to spread good vibes that the pineapple symbolizes most. In all I've been able to find, the pineapple has the power for good, something we need more than ever in this world. Our goal is to find more and more ways to spread good vibes, bring people together, and instill the belief that the future is inspiring through the pineapple.

Chinese Pineapple Symbolism

Over the years doing this project, I've talked to many amazing people. One day, I learned about pineapple symbolism in Chinese culture. What does it mean?

The pineapple is a symbol of good luck! Because of its many eyes, it sees the opportunity ahead and faster than others.

But, what does the pineapple symbolize in other countries such as Brazil?

What the does the pineapple mean in Brazil?

Believe it or not, in Brazil, the pineapple symbolizes poor punctuality.  I had no idea until I discovered this article on BBC Travel. Apparently, Brazilians are notoriously late for things and the pineapple represents that things are going to take a while to resolve the problem and reason they are going to be late. Here's a quote from the article:

The Brazilian-Portuguese language reflects this, with time-specific words that lack direct translations in English. The verb ‘atrasar’ can be interpreted as ‘to be late’ or ‘to cause lateness’, while demorar is a verb that loosely means ‘take a long time’. A person who is muito enrolado/a(literally, ‘very tangled’) is likely to demorar or atrasar a great deal. A problem that will take a while to resolve is an ‘abacaxi’ or ‘pineapple’ (so called due to the thorny issue of removing the fruit from its spiky skin).

A Darker Side to The Pineapple Symbol

There a darker side to the symbolism of the pineapple and might put pineapple hospitality out the window.

This side into the meaning of the pineapple is a bit crude. It's urban slang after all. Pineapple slang, if you so call it. I'll leave it to you to check out these pineapple sayings on urbandictionary.com.

This innocent tropical fruit also has a connection to weed culture. There is a potent strain of weed known as Pineapple Express. And a movie about it called Pineapple Express!

But from what I've found, within weed culture, pineapple hospitality is still what it's all about.

Also, learn more about this side to the pineapple by looking into the meaning of the ? emoji.

Seamless Pineapple Pattern Graphic

I'm the guy behind Pineapple Supply Co.. This project has been the go-to place for pineapple enthusiasts all over the world since 2015. I live in London, Ontario, Canada and enjoy using the power of the pineapple to spread good vibes.

What does Pineapple Mean to You?

All of this information about the pineapple is good, but I also believe it can mean something unique to everyone. What does the pineapple symbolize or represent to you? Is there something special about the fruit in your eyes? Do you have any other thoughts on what makes pineapple’s popular and trendy? Leave a comment about it. Oh, and, could you share this post? I spent a lot of time on it and I really appreciate it! Stay Golden

Be a Pineapple: Share This

Scott Webb

Scott Webb

Hi! I'm the guy behind Pineapple Supply Co.. I enjoy using the pineapple as a way to promote positivity and optimism! Most of the time, I'm working as an Architectural Photographer in London Ontario at Scott Webb Photography.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Isabella

    Pineapples do symbolize a tropical adventure for me since most places in the tropics give out pineapple and other fruit as a way of showing their hospitality. Of course, all the good vibes too <3

    1. Scott Webb

      I totally agree, Isabella! I even used a pineapple to show thanks for the hospitality of an Airbnb that I stayed at in Montreal. I left them one 🙂
      It was the pineapple I photographed in the loft of the airbnb that’s found here on the blog.

      Thanks for commenting for good vibes!

      Stay Golden #pineapple

  2. Sean M Palani

    Hey Scott;

    How are you? So glad that I found this. Anyone that knows me, knows that I live and die by the pineapple for its hospitality symbolism. Great job! Keep it up.

    1. Scott Webb

      Hey Sean! Now that is what I like to hear! Would love to get to know you more around here then 🙂 Do you have a particular story you could share regarding it?

  3. alexandra

    Hi Scott,
    I love the pineapple both as fruit and as a positive, summer vibes, adventure & beach symbol!!
    & they are everywhere, welcoming people at fences and gates of houses in Hawaii…???? Aloha. They are also the basic ingredient of Tepache, one of Mexico’s national drinks, too. ??? Thanks for this post. :))

  4. Reg S

    Hi Scott! 🙂 This was interesting to learn… Me, my family and my close friends actually always love PINEAPPLE because of the show Psych! I mean eating is great! But it’s a great family and friends fun to point out all the pineapples we see all the time.. and we got that from the show Psych! 🙂 thank you so much though for explaining what it truly was all about! 🙂

    1. Scott Webb

      Hey Reg! I haven’t seen this show Psych. It really sounds like I need to get up to speed! Isn’t it crazy how you start seeing them everywhere? LOVE IT. Thanks for leaving a comment, Reg. Stay Golden too!

    1. Scott Webb

      Hey Holly!

      Thanks for that reminder on more symbolism. I have to update the page with the information and with other research, I’ve done too. THANKS!

  5. Taylor Burgess

    Love this write up and the fact you’re in my city ? if you’ve ever seen someone at a concert at London Music Hall with a pineapple that’s me ??

I'm the guy behind Pineapple Supply Co.. This project has been the go-to place for pineapple enthusiasts all over the world since 2015. I live in London, Ontario, Canada and enjoy using the power of the pineapple to spread good vibes.