A cat festival might sound rather cute and cuddly, and this one is, but that’s only by recent design. In truth, the Kattenfestival has its roots in a 12th-century tradition that had the city jester throwing live cats from the Lakenhalle’s belfry. Cats, it was believed, personified evil spirits and this ritual, which continued until 1817, was a sure way to be rid of them. Today’s version, which sees toy cats hurled from the belfry, was instituted in the 1930s.
About Cat Festival
- Held annually until 1991, the festival is now staged every third year on second Sunday of May.
- On this day, the town literally purrs. Store windows fill with cats, there are cat-shaped chocolates and marzipan and stalls sell all sorts of feline merchandise.
- The big moment is the Kattenstoet, a parade of giant cats. Following the parade it’s a case of look away now for it’s about to rain toy cats.