National Picnic Week 9-15th August: an old tradition that is still great fun
During the 14th century, picnics were medieval hunting feasts. These feasts, taking place before the hunt began, were of special importance. The typical foods would be cheese, baked specialities, pastries and lovely preserves.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition, volume XI, p. 779) picnic means “a fashionable social entertainment in which each person present contributed a share of the provisions; a party including an excursion to some spot in the country.
The oldest print evidence of the word picnic in the English language can be traced back to 1748, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The word picnic was known in France, Germany, and Sweden before it became part of the English society.
According to Wikipedia, “the first usage of the word picnic was traced to a 16th century French text, describing a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. A theory has it that the word picnic is based on the verb piquer which means ‘pick’ or ‘peck’ with the rhyming nique perhaps meaning trifle. The 1692 edition of Origines de la Langue Franqoise de Ménage, which mentions ‘piquenique’ as being of recent origin, marks the first appearance of the word picnic in print. The word picnic first appeared in English texts in the mid-1700s, and may have entered the English language from this French word or from the German Picknick.”
What about today?
Picnic is fashionable more then ever! People are still in love with picnics in UK and you will see lots of groups this week end: from families to friends or couples, from easygoing to high end, from beer to champagne!