To everyone’s surprise I have never actually blogged about pineapples here, but maybe I’ve just been waiting for the right moment. So as this weekend I went to the Pineapple House near Dunmore, Scotland, with Sara and Alex, it seems like a good moment.
A brief history of the pineapple (fruit)
The fruit of the Bromeliaceae family (same as strawberries – there ARE pineberries) was discovered by Columbus himself in 1493 on is second journey to Guadeloupe and named as a piña de Indes (he was not a smart man). It was brought to Europe in the 16th century, first recordings of the name by French explorer André Thevet stem from 1555. And yes, the name basically stems from Europeans thinking it just kind of looked like a pine cone on an apple.
More interesting is the etymology of its other name – Ananas. It stems from the Tupi word nanas, literally translating to “delicious fruit” (smart people here). There are some urban myths about the name stemming from banana crates where the b was simply crossed out as they lacked pineapple crates. I have not found any evidence for that so far.
Starting to be cultivated in only the 17th century, the pineapple soon became a symbol of hospitality because of being associated with the return of ships from long journeys. You may often see pineapples in castles, carved in guest beds or on paintings – they could actually be rented by the hour back then to show wealth and, well, hospitality.
Today, pineapples are mainly grown in Costa Rica, the Phillipines, Thailand and Brazil. Sadly, their cultivation causes quite a lot of trouble as more pesticides are used than in most other tropical fruit.
A brief history of The Pineapple (house)
The house, built in 1761 by John Murray, was actually used for growing pineapples. The actual pineapple, however, is said to be built in 1776 (designed by Sir William Chambers, who is also responsible for Somerset House and Kew Gardens). That was when Murray returned from Virginia, where he had spent the time in between as a governour.
The pineapple itself is 14 metres high, mixes several architectural styles and is one of the most impressive architectural representations of the symbol, showing off what stonemasons can do. Today you can actually rent the pineapple as a holiday home.
if you admire somebody
get destroyed by envy
or elevated by joy
of being inspired
one can be inspirational
My visit to Denmark last weekend lasted a mere 30 hours, but tiny Aalborg (spelled Aalborg rather than Århus because the Danes didn’t have the right typewriters at some moment, but also quite a controversial issue to do with anti-German sentiments etc…) was easily explored thanks to some lovely guides.
On the way I was reading preparational material: “The Almost Nearly Perfect People” by Brit Michael Booth. As I had no former experience with Denmark I was mostly struck by several things he wrote about: the incredibly high tax levels (up to 70% of a monthly pay check); the Danish word kaerste is used for both ‘taxes’ as well as ‘darling’.
Also, there were some remarks and anecdotes on Danish safety, society and equality and that people from different classes weren’t as socially seperated – both looked at from a positive as well as negative way. I got to know the notion of Jante Law, according to Wikipedia “the idea that there is a pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities that negatively portrays and criticises individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate” .
The following ten rules were first published in 1933 by Aksel Sandemoose to describe this Scandinavian mindset.
1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
8. You’re not to laugh at us.
9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
Discouraging thinking a lot, yet still intriguing.
It seems rare to have a set of social norms spelled out that radically and to get baptized (categorical imperatives and golden rules just do not have the same dimension to me). I doubt that Danish people make their every decision based on it, yet the term Jante Law seemed to ring a bell to everyone.
Reminding me of a very different video of 70 years later, maybe Jante Law could be the next export hit to a very individualistic society after LEGO and Skype. Whether that is better or not – we are not to think. Or are we?
It’s a dilemma.
Trying to decide,
I wish I was Hannah Montana,
but I have to pick a side.
from my latest photowalk.
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