The banana is native in tropical and subtropical Asia and the Pacific. It is cultivated as a decorative plant and as an agricultural crop. In China, the banana is a symbol for self-education – for the discipline and the will to teach and to improve oneself. In many rituals (also in Taiwan and Japan) the winner of a competition is rewarded with a decorated banana leaf. Similar to the Greek laurel wreath. In Asia the symbolism of the banana focuses more on the evergreen leaf, not the fruit – whereas in Europe we regard only the fruit.
The symbolic meaning of fruits in general has often to do with sexuality and sensuality. Because of its shape, the banana symbolizes the penis, the male potency and fertility. In particular as a dream symbol, the banana is understood as a phallic lust icon and peeling and eating it stands for oral intercourse, obviously.
As a tropical fruit, the banana can also be understood as a symbol of luxury, abundance and the promise of paradise. A further aspect of banana symbolism is the slippery, discarded peel, on which one can slip and hurt oneself. In this case the banana stands for unexpected evil, malicious intrigues or negligence.
> Usage of the symbol
In the western hemisphere we focus mainly on the sexual attraction of the fruit and the “tragic-comic” side of the banana peel. Most often we use the banana in combination with other fruits, in the form of a still life, to symbolize wealth, luxury and fertility. In this connection, the banana is well-suited as part of a golden fruit bowl (wealth pot) in the wealth corner (Bagua n° 4).