I'm often asked, what's the deal with the pineapple? Why are pineapples popular?
My typical answer is: “Because, Pineapples.”
Usually my response is good enough; however, I'd like to get into more details on what makes pineapples popular today: History and Tradition.
The story of the popularity of the pineapple goes back to the European discovery of the fruit. It was the great Christopher Columbus, traveling 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.
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 this was a symbolic representation of royal privilege.
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, 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 the culture.
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 event 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
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.
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 affection 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 event carved window shutters.
Pineapple Remains Popular
Today, the pineapple as a symbol remains so popular in many households around the world. The simple image of the pineapple brings warmth and welcome to visitors and also to your own wellbeing. It blends in naturally with every decor and lifestyle and remains popular because of this all.
If you're wondering why the pineapple is so popular, just know that it's not a trend. 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.
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 3.3 million images. It's common to see people doing their own impression of King Charles II 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 got 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 and we can wear it around on shirts, hats, jewelry and more. We're now even seeing certain lifestyle products made out of pineapples instead of cow leather!
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, good cheer, and affection to fellow co-workers instead of using a thumbs up.
Today, it's the mission of Pineapple Supply Co. to spread good vibes that the pineapple symbolizes. 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.
I'm curious, do you have any thoughts on what makes pineapple's popular? Is there something special about the fruit in your eyes?