How did pumpkins get their name?


There's a chill in the air, and pumpkins start appearing on table tops and windowsills, at times as whole pumpkins and at other times carved into jack-o-lanterns. But how did the "pumpkin" get its name?

The pumpkin was first named by people in the country of Greece. They called this orange edible a "pepon," which means "large melon." Can you see how pumpkins might have reminded people of large ribbed melons with orange coloring on the outside or inside?

The French then changed the name to "pompon," and the English made the change to "pumpion."

So it's not hard to see how American colonists then called this orange piece of produce "pumpkin," a name we enjoy today, especially during the Fall when pumpkins are celebrated, decorated and happily displayed!

By Alli Rodenhauser (Whyzz writer)


Make your own pumpkin decoration for Fall! To begin, cut a circle out of an orange piece of construction paper. To create ribs on the surface of your pumpkin creation, glue pieces of dark orange or yellow yarn from the top of your circle to the bottom, with a slight curve to make the pumpkin appear rounded. Add a green or brown construction paper stem, green paper leaves and green curly ribbon to create the illusion of a vine, and your creation is complete!


Pumpkin History. University of Illinois Extension.A Short History of the Pumpkin. The Pumpkin Patch. 1999-2009. Halloween Online.