Rss

 - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Perfect Picnic Celebration for Canada’s 150 or 4th of July

Picnics are a perfect way to celebrate, but how did this tradition begin?

The calendar says July and we are feeling the heat. On a sunny day, we feel the urge to get outside and relax. Of course we will probably find ourselves hungry so we might want to take along some food for a picnic. Where did the term picnic originate?

That is not such as easy question to answer. Most historians agree that picnics evolved from the traditions of outdoor feasts the wealthy classes entertained. There were medieval hunting feasts, banquets in Renaissance times, and garden parties in the Victorian era. In America picnics only go back as far as the middle of the nineteenth century.

Earliest picnics in England were medieval hunting feasts. The convention of having a feast before the hunt started as early as the fourteenth century. Participants would have eaten foods like hams, pastries, and baked meats. Picnicking outdoors, as we know it, became popular during the Victorian era. There are many examples of picnics in the writings of Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen. Likewise, European painters such as Monet, Cezanne and Renoir depict many scenes of picnics.

It seems likely that the French invented the word picnic. The French word piquenique combines the French verb piquer which means to pick and the word nique which means something that is worth little or has no value. By 1800 the word appears to be widely accepted throughout Europe. The term picnic originally meant a contribution by every guest for a meal. Every invited guest was expected to show up with a dish. The success of the social gathering depended on everyone bringing food. We use the phrase “pot luck” supper to describe such a gathering in America today. Over a period of time the word picnic’s meaning shifted to a gathering that was always held outdoors in a peaceful setting rather than a a meal in which everyone needed to make a contribution. Today a picnic means an excursion that includes sharing a meal outdoors in a pleasant area like a park or garden. A picnic might include two people sharing wine and cheese or a picnic basket with sandwiches and fruit or pastries and home baked goods. It might even be a large community event like a church social or town community day. What distinguishes it from a barbeque is the fact that the meal is already prepared and ready to enjoy outdoors not one that requires the cooking outdoors.

No matter which of these outdoor pastimes you prefer, here’s hoping that the summer will bring us many opportunities to enjoy sharing food with family and friends. Bon Appetit!

Barbara Ann Mojica
Author of the Little Miss HISTORY series:
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT RUSHMORE
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to The STATUE of LIBERTY
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to FORD’S THEATER
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INTREPID Sea, Air & Space Museum
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to ELLIS ISLAND
Little Miss HISTORY Travels to MOUNT VERNON
Little Miss HISTORY COLORING BOOK, Volume 1
The Adventures of Little Miss HISTORY, Volume 1

WWW.LittleMissHISTORY.com TO SEE MUCH MORE AND PURCHASE BOOKS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *