The history of the pineapple in Charleston
A handshake or a warm hello are the most common ways to welcome someone. But did you know that pineapples are also a global symbol of welcome. What? Sounds strange? Never heard of this? It’s actually the reason that there are so many representations of pineapples across Charleston. Although pineapples do not grow in Charleston, pineapples are a symbol of hospitality, which fits right in with the traditional Southern hospitality you can find here in our beautiful city.
What are the old stories of pineapples in Charleston?
In the colonial days, Charleston was a shipping town, as it has a large waterfront. There were many sailors and their families living in the city, and the return of sailors was celebrated among family and friends. When a captain returned home from a voyage, they would spear a pineapple on their fence post to let their friends and neighbors know that they had returned home safely. This was also a sign that a celebration would happen that night. Friends and family would share dinner and drinks on these nights to hear the sailor’s stories of pirates, adventures and new lands. The sailors’ hospitality with their neighbors and friends is why the pineapple is a symbol of welcome.
Let’s travel back a bit further in time
When Christopher Columbus discovered the pineapple and brought it back to Europe, it was considered a delicacy, as it was uncommon and sweet. It became a fruit which was exclusively for nobility and it therefore became a symbol of wealth and prominence. Women who hosted dinner parties would stack fruit and place the pineapple at the highest point to display her family’s wealth. As the fruit became more common, it simply became a symbol of friendship and hospitality, as it has always played a prominent role in the gathering of individuals.
So, where are the pineapples in Charleston?
I spy with my little eye…pineapples! They are found throughout the city in the shape of fountains, stone carvings outside houses and parks, as well as in various other forms. The most iconic of these structures in Charleston is The Pineapple Fountain, which is found in the Charleston Waterfront Park. This is a stunning destination where the fountain practically glows against the sunset and sunrise. There is also a splash fountain in this park, which families can enjoy. This park’s ability to cater to all ages, really supports Charleston’s dedication to providing Southern hospitality.
Pineapple themed merchandise?
As we know, pineapples take various forms in Charleston. Here at Charleston Collections & Gifts, we have pineapple oriented merchandise such as pendants, bracelets, wind chimes and wall decorations. Whether you hang up these pineapple themed decorations or wear them, they will symbolize that you welcome time spent with friends and family and hospitality will be shown to guests in your home. Come add a touch of southern hospitality to your everyday life!