Picnic

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**Etymology and History of Picnics:**
– The term ‘picnic’ has contested origins, possibly borrowed from French and German.
– The earliest English citation dates back to 1748 by Lord Chesterfield.
– The French word ‘pique-nique’ is based on the verb ‘piquer’ and the addition ‘nique.’
– Elegant meals eaten outdoors were connected with hunting in the Middle Ages.
– The term ‘picnic’ was not commonly used until after 1806 in England.
– Picnics were initially connected with hunting outings.
– The practice of picnicking evolved over time.

**Cultural and Social Aspects of Picnics:**
– The Pic Nic Society was formed in London in 1802 by aristocrats.
– Victorian feasts featured extravagant picnic menus with multiple courses.
– Political picnics have been used as a peaceful social activity for protests.
– Picnicking in the Victorian era was a grand social event.
– Picnics have been used for political purposes, like the Pan-European Picnic in 1989.

**Representation of Picnics in Art and Literature:**
– Romantic American landscape paintings often include picnickers in the foreground.
– Various literary works by authors like Jane Austen and Alfred Tennyson feature picnic scenes.
– Paintings by artists like Thomas Cole and Édouard Manet depict picnics in different settings.
– Drama, such as Fernando Arrabal’s ‘Picnic on the Battlefield,’ explores themes using picnic settings.
– Picnics symbolize themes of normalcy, disruption, and tragedy in art and literature.

**Picnics in Media and Entertainment:**
– Films like ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ and ‘Bhaji on the Beach’ feature picnic settings.
– Music has incorporated picnicking themes in songs like ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ and ‘Stoned Soul Picnic.’
– Drama, such as ‘Picnic on the Battlefield,’ uses picnics to explore various themes.
– ‘Picnic’ is a film that doesn’t actually feature a picnic scene but explores related themes.
– Literature, drama, and music have all portrayed picnics in various forms of entertainment.

**Additional Resources and Notable Mentions:**
– Various authors and sources explore the theme of picnics in literature and art.
– Notable literary works like Omar Khayyam’s ‘The Rubaiyat’ and Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ feature picnic scenes.
– External resources like the BBC Food Picnic Guide and Walter Levy’s ‘Picnic Wit’ offer insights into picnicking.
– Historical sources and literary works provide further context and understanding of picnics.
– Picnics have been a recurring theme in various forms of artistic expression throughout history.

Picnic (Wikipedia)

A picnic is a meal taken outdoors (al fresco) as part of an excursion, especially in scenic surroundings, such as a park, lakeside, or other place affording an interesting view, or else in conjunction with a public event such as preceding an open-air theater performance, and usually in summer or spring. It is different from other meals because it requires free time to leave home.

A Pic-Nic Party by Thomas Cole, 1846

Historically, in Europe, the idea of a meal that was jointly contributed to and enjoyed out-of-doors was essential to picnic from the early 19th century.

Picnickers like to sit on the ground on a rug or blanket. Picnics can be informal with throwaway plates or formal with silver cutlery and crystal wine glasses. Tables and chairs may be used but this is less common.

Outdoor games or some other form of entertainment are common at large picnics. In public parks, a picnic area generally includes picnic tables and possibly built-in grills, water faucets (taps), garbage (rubbish) containers, restrooms (toilets) and gazebos (shelters).

Some picnics are a potluck, where each person contributes a dish for all to share. The food eaten is rarely hot, instead taking the form of sandwiches, finger food, fresh fruit, salad and cold meats. It can be accompanied by chilled wine, champagne or soft drinks.

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