Thank you for coming here and welcome to 2008.
To the people of the Caribbean, the pineapple symbolized hospitality, and the Spaniards soon learned they were welcome if a pineapple was placed at the entrance to a village. This symbolism spread to Europe, courtesy of Christopher Colombus in 1493 and then to Colonial North America, where it became the custom to carve the shape of a pineapple into the columns at the entrance of a plantation.
Seafaring captains used to impale fresh pineapples, souvenirs of their lengthy travels, to tropical ports atop the porch railings of their homes when they returned. It was a symbol that the man of the house was home and receiving visitors. Families would set a fresh pineapple in the centre of the table as a colourful centrepiece of a festive meal, especially when visitors joined them in celebration symbolizing the utmost in welcome and hospitality.
This communal symbol of friendship and hospitality also became a favourite motif of architects, artisans and craftsmen often announcing the hospitality of a mansion with carved wood or moulded mortar pineapples on its main gate posts. Today pineapples can be seen carved on bedposts, headboards, backs of chairs, front doors of homes, towns’ welcome signs, atop rooftops, weather vanes of important public buildings, sculpted into door lintels, stenciled on walls, carpets, china and in metalwork and needlework.
Please enjoy your pineapple.