A few months ago I was chatting with someone who had been researching hospitality. I’m always up for learning more nerdy facts about things, so I was super intrigued when she told me about pineapples and hospitality.
Apparently, pineapples are a symbol of hospitality. When European explorers, conquerors, settlers (whatever you want to call them) arrived in the Caribbean islands, they knew a village was welcoming if it had a pineapple at its entrance. This symbol was later translated to housewives a couple hundred years later in America. They would place a pineapple on their fireplace mantle or on the table to let everyone know they were welcome. When the pineapple would mysteriously disappear it meant it was time for guests to leave. Or so the legend goes.
Since we moved from a 3 bedroom to a 5 bedroom house a few months ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be hospitable. This is mostly because we intentionally made space for guests and people in need of a place to stay. While I can’t speak on behalf of those who have stayed or are staying with us, what I can say is that I’m sure our neighbors think we’re the crazy family who has too many cars at their house and a constant stream of people coming in and out.
What I realized is that hospitality is a state of heart not a state of house. It’s about being generous, friendly, and welcoming. Wherever Josh and I lived we always seemed to max out our space with people. We hosted small groups, had theme parties, and birthday parties at our tiny 1 bedroom apartment in Toronto. When people spent the night on our super uncomfortable futon, it was in our living room. We continued to do the same in our 3 bedroom home, but our friends and family now had an air mattress and slept in one of our kids bedrooms. No matter what season of life, we intentionally tried really hard to make our home a place where others felt welcome.
I found this amazing gold print of a pineapple at Hobby Lobby and stuck it on my living room wall. It’s become a running joke with anyone who has the patience to hear my pineapple history that as long as the pineapple stays on the wall, they are welcome to stay. So far it’s never come down.
seek to show hospitality.