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For the ancient peoples of the New World (New, at least, to Europeans), the pineapple was recognized as a fruit symbolizing friendship and hospitality. Families would hang pineapples outside their homes to perfume the entryway and make it welcoming to guests. It was an edible invitation!
Since the fruit was so perishable, it became a symbol of luxury, nobility, and wealth throughout Europe. A single pineapple could fetch a fortune. Thus, the host who was able to present freshly cut pineapple to his or her guests was the one with money, power, and connections.