Picnic

Picnic: A History

By ADRIANA GALLINA

It’s International Picnic Day!

Edouard_Manet_-_Luncheon_on_the_Grass_-_Google_Art_Project

One of the first and most famous portrayals of a picnic is Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (The Luncheon on the Grass) by Édouard Manet featured above.


Picnics are a long-standing tradition. The word picnic, is believed to be derived from the French word, “picque-nique.”  “Picque” meaning ‘pick’ or ‘peck’ in French, while “nique” is believed to be just a rhyming compliment.  
“Picque-nique” was first used in print in Tony Willis’ 1692 edition of Origines de la Langue Française to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. Picnics became known as a gathering where everyone brought something to share, similar to what’s now known as a potluck.

The American-style picnic as we know it today began around the middle of the 19th century. Although June 18th marks International Picnic  Day, one of the most popular days for picnicking in the U.S. is, with no surprise, the 4th of July.

Boys picnicking at the White House Easter egg roll, 1911.

Boys picnicking at the White House Easter egg roll, 1911.

In France, Bastille Day (a national holiday commemorating the storming of Bastille celebrated on July 14th) is one of the most common days for people to hit the outdoors with blankets, food and baskets in hand. In many European countries, especially Italy (where Perfect Picnic’s inspiration was born), the biggest day for picnics is Easter Monday, known as Pasquetta.

Read an excerpt from the New York Times on good old fashion picnics.

Read an excerpt from the New York Times on good old fashion picnics. Read an excerpt from the New York Times on good old fashion picnics.

 

Here at Perfect Picnic, we want to celebrate Picnic Day with you. Post a photo of your favorite spot to picnic, tag and follow us @perfectpicnicnyc for a chance to win your own Perfect Picnic! 

 

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