If you missed celebrating International Picnic Day on Monday, it’s not too late. The summer is great for picnics so we’re just getting started. Next time you are out and about sipping wine on a blanket with a book in your hands, you might also be a little curious about “were did all this, and this great idea, originally come from?”
Quick Picnic History
The word picnic only came into usage after 1692 when, in a book called Origines de la Langue Française, Tony Willis – the author – mentions pique-nique as “a group of people dining in a restaurant but bringing their own wine”. Picnicking didn’t fully becomes a popular activity until after the French Revolution in 1789, when royal parks were opened to the public. Painters and writers were keen to depict the activity. Just check out Manet’s déjeuner sur l’herbe or Jane Austen’s Emma to see what I am talking about.
Later, in the 19th century, a group of rich Englishman founded the The Picnic Society. The social gatherings, based in London, were envisioned as events where each participant brings food for everyone to share. But the events are not held outdoors. When they were, they were mainly hunting parties. This change finally comes right before the 1860s when, as mentioned in the Oxford Dictionary, a picnic becomes “a pleasure party including an excursion to some spot in the country where all partake of a repast out of doors.”
Fun Picnic Facts:
- The largest picnic record is currently held by a company in Lisbon, Portugal. It was set by 22,232 people at the Parque da Bela Vista, on 20 June 2009. And if you were wondering, it takes 400 buses to bring so many people to the park.
- The longest picnic table measures 322.42 m and was achieved by La Bière Dodo (France) in Saint-Gilles les Bains, on 2 April 2017.
- There is also a current record for the largest picnic blanket. Woven at the Melin Tregwynt Mill in Wales, UK, the blanket measures 1,760 m².
Last, but not least…
If the weather doesn’t cooperate but you’re still in the picnic mood, you might want to watch :
- Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) – Drama, Mystery film
- Picnic (1956) – Romance, Drama
Or, if you would rather trade all that drama for a good cartoon:
- Tom and Jerry – Pup on a Picnic (1955)
- Woody Woodpecker – Pantry Panic (1941)
Enjoy your Picnic 🙂 !