International Picnic Day

What day is it?

It is impossible not to agree with the famous statement of the writer William Somerset Maugham that there are few things as pleasant as a picnic. Fresh air, an idyllic landscape all around, and all this in combination with simple but tasty food in a friendly company – this is what most of us think of when we think of a picnic. Picnics were once a privilege of the upper class, but now it is a simple and democratic way of recreation available to absolutely everyone. It is difficult to find a country where people do not enjoy this pleasant pastime, especially in the summer. So it is in the summer, on June 18, when the warm weather calls for nature, that the world celebrates a fun holiday — International Picnic Day.

How did the idea of ​​celebrating International Picnic Day come about?

People ate in the open air since the beginning of history – hunted prey was usually cooked on a fire around which the whole tribe gathered. However, it is inappropriate to consider such meals as a picnic, because this concept includes certain rules and traditions that appeared much later.


There are several versions regarding the origin of the word “picnic”. One of them is a combination of the French verb “piquer” – “to choose” and the noun “nique”, which loosely translates to “trifle” or “nothing”. However, at first this word had nothing to do with a picnic in its modern sense. In 1649, during the Fronde in France, a parody satire with a main character named Pique-Nique was popular. He was a brave fighter on the barricades and at the same time a big glutton. The irony was the contrast of this habit with the food shortages caused by the rebellion itself.

Who knows, an unknown author invented the word “Pique-Nique” or it was used before, but after several decades it lost its somewhat derogatory meaning. In Gilles Menage’s dictionary of the French language, published in 1694, “picnic” already had the meaning of a social dinner, in which each guest contributed his share.

In the 18th century, picnics became a favorite pastime of the aristocracy — they were parties organized at home or in rented premises. At the same time, each guest brought some dish, wine or paid a certain amount. As at any social gathering, the art of intellectual and witty conversation was valued at picnics, and sometimes the picnic included music and dancing.


The French Revolution changed the life of aristocrats – many of them were forced to emigrate. The majority settled in London, and thus the British capital learned about the tradition of picnics. In 1801, two hundred Frenchmen organized the “Picnic Society” there. As The Times reported at the time, each participant brought a dish determined by lot, as well as 6 bottles of wine. After the banquet, dances and gambling were arranged, but amateur theatrical productions became the main entertainment.

The cheerful leisure of the French aristocrats gained wide publicity, so less wealthy people began to adapt this idea to their life opportunities. Middle-class picnics were not associated with music, dance, and theater, becoming purely a meal and moving from indoors to outdoors, usually in parks or outside the city.

On this matter, France and Britain argue – where the picnic “went out” into the fresh air for the first time. The French believe that after the revolution, royal parks were opened, so people began to come there with food, while the British say that it was ordinary Londoners, inspired by the “Picnic Society”, who started this tradition.

Picnic basket

In the 19th century, the picnic became an extremely common phenomenon. The famous British author and cook, Isabella Beaton, whose book for housewives is still in print, paid great attention to the picnic menu, which included many must-haves, including four roast chickens and two ducks. However, the expected number of guests at such a picnic was 40 people. Also, among wealthy people, it was considered very fashionable to appear at seasonal social events, for example, at the Ascot horse race, with a picnic basket in hand.

However, indoor picnics were still very popular, especially in France, even among the working class. In the novel “The Trap” by Emile Zola, there is a description of a pauper’s wedding in the form of a picnic in a house, when all the guests contributed their share – 5 francs and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner of ham, stewed rabbit, brie cheese, fruit, coffee and alcohol.

Only at the beginning of the 20th century, picnics in the open air began to prevail over picnics in four walls. The development of new types of transport — trains, bicycles, cars — contributed to the fact that it became much easier to get out of the city. In addition, the idea of ​​spending time outside in comfortable weather and at the same time enjoying your favorite dishes proved attractive to many families and friendly companies. At the same time, the mass production of picnic baskets began – in the 1920s in Great Britain, large stores set aside separate departments for them.

In the Russian Empire, picnics gained popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Such leisure was especially common among representatives of the nobility and merchants. Also, gatherings of revolutionary-minded citizens, nicknamed “mayvkas”, were often disguised as picnics. After 1917, picnics were rarely mentioned, and this custom was revived only in the 1960s. The then leader of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev, was a big supporter of country recreation, so tourist trips with outdoor food, bonfires and guitar songs were actively popularized in the country.

International Picnic Day in History

  • 1649
    In France, the parodic satire “Les Charmans effects des barricades, ou l’amité Durable de la compagnie des freres Bachiques de Pique-Nique” is popular. It is believed that the word “picnic” was used for the first time by an unknown author in it.
  • 1789
    The French Revolution began, the unforeseeable consequence of which was the spread of the picnic tradition in other countries.
  • 1801
    The picnic society “Pic Nic Society” appeared in London.
  • 1989
    August 19
    There was a Pan-European picnic, a peaceful action on the border between Hungary and Austria, during which citizens of the German Democratic Republic, who were vacationing in Hungary, took advantage of the opportunity and fled to Austria. This event became one of those that eventually led to the unification of Germany.
  • 2000
    July 14
    On the day of the capture of the Bastille in France, a huge jubilee picnic was held along the coastline – about a thousand kilometers long. More than a million French people and tourists took part in this picnic.

Frequent Questions and answers on International Picnic Day

What types of picnics are there?

Picnics are divided by the type of company that is going to them. These can be purely family picnics, picnics in the company of friends, corporate picnics for company or department employees, picnics for schoolmates or fellow students, as well as picnics for members of various organizations or communities, for example, religious ones.

What things should you definitely take with you on a picnic?

In addition to the actual food and drinks, you should grab a light and preferably waterproof blanket for the picnic – it will be comfortable to sit on and at the same time it will replace the tablecloth. It is worth taking an aerosol against insects, as well as thinking about entertainment in advance and grabbing a ball, a set for badminton, board games or a deck of playing cards.

How to choose the best place for a picnic?

It is desirable to find an attractive grassy area with a tree under which the whole company can sit. If there will be children at the picnic, there should be enough space for them to play around. The shade of a tree will be very appropriate on a hot day, and if there is a river or lake nearby, it will add a pleasant atmosphere to leisure.

What clothes are best for a picnic?

Even if the weather is warm and sunny, you should take into account possible cooling in the evening, so it is advisable to have a light jacket. To protect against the sun’s rays, it is necessary to grab a cap or a hat. You should also take a swimsuit, a towel and sunglasses.

Should I take medicine on a picnic?

Yes, it is better to play it safe and take a minimum kit with you: a bandage, plaster, hydrogen peroxide in case of injuries; absorbents, for example, activated carbon; antihistamines and pain relievers may also be needed.

How to celebrate International Picnic Day?

For Ukrainians picnic is a favorite and popular type of recreation. The picnic season usually begins in May, when persistent warm weather sets in, and the ground is covered with young grass. Outdoor picnics in our country last until autumn itself, because they do not require any special reason.

Therefore, the most logical idea of ​​celebration International Picnic Day obvious – you should go to nature with your family, children, friends or colleagues. In Ukraine, there is a tradition of grilling barbecue at a picnic, so it is worth preparing the meat and all the necessary attributes in advance. If a barbecue is not planned, light snacks will be enough – meat and cheese cuts, sandwiches, vegetables and fruits.

Usually, a picnic is not complete without fun games and entertainment. In addition to the standard set – volleyball, badminton or frisbee, you can arrange an interesting quest with a search on the map. To support excitement, it is worth preparing small prizes for the winners. When the moment of fatigue from active activities comes, and you don’t want to leave yet, you can play “monopoly”, lotto or other board games.

It is very sad to see when people leave plastic bags, disposable dishes and other garbage on the grass after a picnic. Therefore, at the end of the vacation, you should always thoroughly clean the scene, leaving no traces of your stay. Then and next time, this area will be a good place for pleasant leisure.

Why do we love this day?

First of all, a picnic is a rest in nature. Sometimes it is so nice to be freed from everyday worries and sit on the grass, feel the sun’s rays, a light breath of the wind, listen to the birds singing. This is real relaxation and a kind of meditation, especially when the company at the picnic is not too numerous and noisy.

On the other hand, a picnic is an occasion for casual communication with familiar people. The informal atmosphere promotes the free expression of thoughts and feelings, and it is not for nothing that recently even business meetings are often held in the format of a picnic.

For children, a picnic is, first of all, an adventure away from home, where you can run around as you please, watch birds or insects, participate in cooking, keep an eye on the campfire, and invent many other exciting activities. And for adults, this is a great opportunity to play with children, to tell them something interesting about the natural world.

Last but not least, a picnic is a gastronomic delight – which is worth only a hot fragrant kebab. In addition, in addition to the pre-discussed menu, event participants often bring some special “branded” dish with them, and it becomes a very pleasant surprise for everyone. Therefore, it is simply impossible not to love such a positive holiday as the International Picnic Day, because it brings us closer to friends, family and nature.

When will we celebrate International Picnic Day??

Year Date Weekday
2021 June 18 Friday
2022 June 18 Saturday
2023 June 18 Sunday
2024 June 18 Tuesday
2025 June 18 Wednesday

International Picnic Day


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