The Symbolic Meaning Of Pineapples

The pineapple fruit is one that is seldom portrayed in Chinese art.

But it’s presence cannot be ignored during joyous occasions and festivals like CNY.

Especially during CNY, it is as good as a mainstay to find pineapples in one form or another used as decorations for homes and business premises.

The auspicious symbolism of the pineapple fruit mostly comes from it’s name.

The mandarin word for pineapple is bo lo (疲罗). With the word 疲 sounding similar to 博 which means riches. This is not the whole story of this fruit’s auspicious

One of it’s aliases is huang li (黄梨).  This term when spoken in hokkien dialect alias is ong lai. The word sound ong sounds like wang (旺) which means wealth and prosperity, or wang (王) which means emperor. With a play of the words, ong lai is a homonym is taken to mean wang lai (旺来) which means wealth and prosperity is coming.

With such an auspicious symbolism, it’s no surprise to find various Chinese communities, especially those who speak hokkien, to have real and paper pineapples all over the place as decorations during celebratory occasions.

This cultural practice is so widespread that even countries with huge Chinese communities such as Malaysia and Singapore embrace it.

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The pineapple is so recognized for this purpose that it’s more or less it’s the single only purpose in terms of symbolism.

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