Do you suppose the picnic was created when Eve gave Adam the apple in that lovely, al fresco setting of the Garden of Eden? Maybe that is why a really great picnic is thought to be sinfully delicious.
There is no doubt that picnics were held in ancient Egypt in the hunting preserves used by royalty and the court. Greeks and Romans dined in the open air at public meeting places. Early Europeans built protective parks around their castles, which became the sites of many outdoor celebrations. Remember that wonderful, lusty song, “It’s May!” sung by Guinevere in Camelot. You will recall that took place during a picnic.
Picnics have been glorified in art. Everyone is familiar with Édouard Manet’s delightful Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe (Lunch on the Grass) that hangs in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. William Mutter Inge won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his seminal melodrama, Picnic.
Read the entire article in the Summer 2004 issue