Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

The unexpected rise of picnics

One of the most popular activities to do in the summer is, undoubtedly, to have a picnic. For most people, this includes a small gathering of friends or family. However, more recently, picnics have become the go-to celebratory event. Whether it is for a child’s birthday or to celebrate your graduation, picnics are a great way to celebrate with your friends or family.

The history and origin of a picnic are quite complex. It is believed that the word ‘picnic’ derives from the French word ‘pique-nique’ which was first mentioned in Origines de la Langue Française in 1692. However, it is believed that at the time, the meaning of the word was simply a gathering where everyone contributed something (which does not have to involve eating outside). This differs massively from our current perception of what a picnic entails.

There is really no reason to not have a picnic

I think that there are lots of reasons why picnics are so popular, but over the past year, in particular, I think Covid has increased the appeal of a picnic even more. For quite some time, meeting people from another household came with lots of restrictions, the main one emphasising the importance of meeting outdoors. For those who do not own a garden, the only way to meet with a friend (legally) was to go to a public outdoor space. I think this lead to more people having picnics than normal. Even now, as most restrictions have been lifted, some people may still prefer to meet outside (especially if the nice weather stays!).

On top of this, I think picnics are great (whether for a special occasion or not) because you can make them as unique as you like. From picnic baskets to snacks and activities, you can truly take it in any direction that you like. With supermarkets selling meal deals, easy to grab snacks and drinks, there is really no reason to not have a picnic. Long gone are the days of spending hours preparing food; although it is still really nice to do this if you have the time!

I think picnics are particularly popular amongst the younger generations because they offer a cheap and easy way to spend some quality time, particularly in the gorgeous summer weather. To make things even better, you could choose to have a picnic in a scenic location such as one where you can watch the sunset.

There is no right or wrong place to choose

With a rise in the popularity of picnics, comes more business opportunities. One example of such is the recent opening of picnic areas in one of the most intagrammable spots; lavender fields. In particular, one lavender farm in Kent has recently opened up private picnic spots in their fields. At £11.25 per person for two hours, some would argue that this is extortionate. However, I think this is a great idea, it helps the local business while at the same time giving people the opportunity to make their picnic that little bit more special.

Another example of the commercialisation of picnics can be seen in the increase of pre-made ready to go picnic boxes. Meal delivery kits and pre-picked ingredients have become very popular over several lockdowns. Shops such as Morrisons have caught onto this trend and have started selling picnic boxes with an assortment of food and drinks. This sounds really convenient if you are in a rush or simply unsure of what to get.

While most people enjoy a picnic, some would much rather go out to a restaurant or a café instead. I think that there is no right or wrong place to choose for your gathering or event. Personally, in the summer months I tend to lean more towards picnics rather than restaurants, but to each their own.

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