In the earlier days, picnics were fancy outdoors meals meant to be enjoyed by medieval royal hunters. Picnics remained like that until 1901 and after that they shifted to simple lunches and meals that could be enjoyed by anyone under the bright sun. Now, people across the globe have added their own unique elements to picnics such as games, specialty cuisines and different holidays to make the most out of this fun activity. The degree of elaborateness, food and other activities of the affair differ now. How people from different countries have made picnics different by adding their own spin to them? Let’s find out.
Great Britain’s Picnics
Britain has a strong relationship with picnics. In the Middle Ages, royalty used to eat outdoors during their hunting adventures. In the 18th century, one of the most iconic foods for UK’s picnics emerged – the Scotch Egg. Boiled eggs, wrapped in sausage, were fried by Fortnum & Mason as a luxury item for lunch that would be taken by high profile travelers. These eggs became popular among travelers as they were easy to carry and eat during travel. The snack has remained popular among Britain’s picnickers to this date.
Argentineans love winter and they celebrate the Christmas holidays of the season with outdoor picnics. Their holidays are spent on beaches or at the backyard of their homes with barbecued or roasted goat, turkey or pork.
Spring in Japan brings the cherry blossom season. Moreover, it announces the beginning of hanami. To celebrate the cherry blossom and hanami, Japanese spend warmer days picnicking under the sakura blooms. This tradition is extremely popular among the Japanese which is why parks are filled with picnickers throughout the season. Some families enjoy homemade dishes under the sun while others buy snacks from food vendors.
In Australia, there’s a national holiday dedicated solely to picnics. There are different stories about how the country got their holiday. Regardless of how the national holiday for picnicking came to be, every year, on the very first Monday of August, “Railway Heritage Picnic Day” is celebrated. Since, Monday is off, Australians can spend a long fun weekend with their families enjoying activities like lizard racing, dancing, singing and tug-of-war.
French love the wine and they seldom compromise on its taste. That’s why even when dining outdoors, they carry fine dining ware with them to ensure that wine tastes good. The wine glass doesn’t stifle aromas and flavors like a normal cup; rather, it allows them to breathe. If you carry red plastic cups at a picnic in France, the French will know you aren’t one of them.
United States’ Picnics
For many Americans, the holidays of summer like the Labor Day and Memorial Day are excuses to outdoor picnics. These gatherings include competitive games like egg relays and tug of war. However, the most popular competition among the Americans is the eating content. The first eating contest took place in 1916 where hot dogs were served to the contestants. In that competition, 13 hotdogs were eaten by the winner. Now picnickers in America often include food eating contests with watermelons or pies.
For some people, picnics are only for eating; but not for Germans. Picnics in Germany are incomplete without games. But, it’s not just the games that make German picnics unique, it is that that the Germans aren’t shy to bare it all while they are enjoying picnics at parks or beaches. Nudity in the country is normal and you’ll find people sunbathing nude even in public parks. Picnic activities such as Frisbee toss, swimming or soccer may be done without clothes in Germany.
New Zealand’s Picnics
Historically, people of New Zealand have enjoyed outdoor lunches with common picnic foods such as pies and sandwiches. However, things changed later in the 19th century and picnics started mimicking barbeques with roasted oxen. Afternoon tea also needed to be added to the picnic menu, so New Zealanders started preparing it in a ‘billy’ (a metal pot). Tea is still a key beverage for picnics in New Zealand, but now it is prepared at home and carried to picnic sites in a thermos.
Soccer, badminton and croquet are mostly played in picnics, but not in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. In these countries, kubb is preferred over other picnic games. This unique lawn game is somewhat a mix between chess and bowling, where players are required to knock down wooden blocks or kubbs with batons. In order to win kubb, players must first knock down the smaller kubbs of their opponent. At the end; they must bring down a large kubb called the king. Depending on the level of skill, a kubb game may last for several hours or just a few minutes.
May Day gives people of Finland the opportunity of celebrating arrival of spring with their family and friends. Those celebrations lead to some exuberant picnics and parties. The celebrations of May Day start on 30th April and many picnickers head to the parks and beaches on the first day of May. The people of Finland enjoy pickled fish in their picnics and wash it down with schnapps.
Turkey is famous for its superb picnics. The reason for this popularity could be that the country has thousands of parks and grounds for picnics that are open for everyone. Many Turkish picnickers bring along furniture, rugs, and cushions to make their picnicking spots more comfortable. They also carry with them string lighting, games and a selection of grilled meats, stuffed veggies and desserts. Many picnics extend to the night and turn into magnificent bonfires with dancing, music and raki.
Picnics aren’t just about celebrating holidays. Some just plan them to have some good fun with their family and friends. For instance, berry hunters in Iceland often prepare picnic lunches and take them along when they go on the hunt for berries. Besides the cheeses and meats, secrecy is the most vital ingredient of Iceland’s picnic. By keeping berry picking spots hidden from others, Icelanders can have more for their own harvest.
In Greece, Clean Monday comes in the beginning of Lent and brings with it some religious food restrictions. However, the holiday does have its own unique foods like octopus, unleavened bread and mussels. The people of Greece welcome the arrival of spring by flying colorful kites and enjoy the holiday with their family and friends.
The unique thing about picnics in Brazil and other countries of South America is that a gourd of chimarrão or yerba mate is shared among family members and friends in these gatherings. Tea is prepared in a container or gourd with a straw. Then it is passed around a circle of family or friends and refilled until it loses its flavor. Even though sharing of yerba mate is among family or friends; there’re rules. For instance, breaking the circle or sipping out of turn is considered rude. Moreover wiping the straw after another fellow has taken a sip is against the rules.
South Korea’s Picnics
South Koreans are serious about their picnic foods. Although their picnics food don’t seem too fancy, but they’re delicious and are easy to prepare. Kimbap is the quintessential picnic food in South Korea. Another dish popular among South Korean picnickers is Omelette rolls. Omelette rolls are similar to normal rolls, but they are dressed up with vegetables and spinach. For dessert, South Koreans pack some rich cakes, filled with honey or red bean and sesame seeds.
Amazed to see all the picnic traditions from different countries of the world? Do you now understand how picnics in different countries of the world are unique in their own way? The way picnics are celebrated around the world is surely different, but the key element – fun – is there no matter how people plan their picnics.
If you wish to organize a unique picnic following the tradition of another country, contact Bay Area Picnic Planners. We offer all-inclusive picnic packages and they come with the option to customize. You can tell us your requirements and our professional picnic planners will work to meet your needs. We can plan a unique picnic for you that’ll be loved by all your guests. Food, fun activities, and entertainment will all be provided by us. So, you won’t have to worry about making any arrangements on your own. The only thing you’ll be required to do is arrive at the picnic spot; everything else is up to us.
For more information about our picnic arrangements and services, give us a buzz at (408) 565-8617.