Toerisme Kasterlee

history of pumpkin town Kasterlee

No Kasterlee without pumpkins. A trip into history tells us that this orange fruit is deeply rooted in Kasterlee’s history. This brings us to the 1700s. At that time, pumpkin porridge was the typical fairground food of Kasterlee’s inhabitants. When the potato harvest failed later, it was usually replaced with pumpkin porridge.

pumpkin evidence

Legend has it that in 1747 widow Van den Kieboom invited her cousin Van Griensven, a resident of Turnhout, and her brother-in-law van Pulle, a priest, to ''de pompoenen en de lemoenen te comen helpen eten op onze kermisse!?'' (come and eat the pumpkins and limes at our fair). And there is further evidence to prove the significant effect of pumpkins on Kasterlee. "De mannen van Kastel eten pompoenpap, d'anderen vreten bonen" (The men of Kastel eat pumpkin porridge, the others eat beans), wrote Johannes de Vos, a priest in Kasterlee in the second half of the 16th century, in one of his articles of Het oud Kastelsch geloof.  

pumpkin porridge eaters

Even until the beginning of the 20th century, pumpkin porridge was quite common in the town, making Kasterlee the pumpkin town par excellence. That is why its inhabitants still go by the derisive name of pumpkin porridge eaters. A name we are proud of!

pumpkin month October

The pumpkin craze strikes Kasterlee around October, hence the pumpkin month. From mid-September to early November dozens of events are held to celebrate this round orange fruit. A major folkloristic  festival that lasts almost two months.