Then vs Now: How Picnics Have Changed with Time

It is safe to say that a lot has changed since you were a child. Where you once enjoyed playing hide and seek, now you prefer a PlayStation. Your favourite beverage has gone from strawberry milkshake to a freshly brewed cappuccino. Handmade birthday cards have become midnight birthday surprises. And you’ve probably gone from sitting in the backseat of a car to driving your own. Whatever the change, it is part of growing up.

Another thing that you probably have noticed is the stark difference from what it used to be when you were a child is picnics! Regardless of age, almost everyone loves picnics. The journey, laughter, scenery, food, and of course, the memories; every aspect of a picnic leaves you with something to cherish for life. But like most other things, picnics, too, have changed over time. Here’s how:

The Picnic Spot

Then: Whether it was a school or family picnic, you probably had very little say when it came to picking the location. Very often, childhood picnics involved gardens, zoos or beaches. Some activities that kept you busy included feeding the ducks, playing frisbee, building sandcastles or playing outdoor games. And they were all things you enjoyed immensely.

Now: Today, you pick a picnic spot based on your interest. You choose resorts over beaches, where you can sit by a pool and relax. You prefer the mountains to zoos, where you can take a trek or set up a camp and fish by a lake. And with your spacious Ford Endeavour, you can be sure of ample boot space to carry all your gear. Despite the location or the fact that they are a little more indulgent, the essence of picnics – then and now – remains the same; unwinding and having fun with loved ones.

Your Travel Companions

Then: Childhood picnics almost always featured the same set of people – schoolmates on class picnics and extended family on summer vacations and family holidays. So, most of your memories of those picnics involve school friends, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and sometimes the occasional tiffs over toys.

Now: The first person you probably call when you see a long weekend coming up is your best friend or a close colleague, after which the idea travels to a group chat. Then come messages on how to travel, what time to leave and so on. Besides, picnics with friends or co-workers are quite relaxing because there are no schedules or rules to follow. It also offers the opportunity to connect with people with whom you have lots of things in common.

Mode of Transport

Then: Remember when you were in school, and you anxiously waited for your annual school picnic. You had to get your parent’s permission weeks in advance, and then make sure that none of your friends ditched you at the last minute. Finally, when the day arrived, you would cram up with your classmates into the bus for a journey filled with songs and games.

Now: One of the best things of picnicking as an adult is that you are not restricted to one or two picnics a year. It’s quite normal to make impromptu picnic plans on the weekend and drive away in your Ford EcoSport. Convincing friends isn’t tough, either, since everyone needs a break now and again. Of course, your journey’s entertainment still involves singing along to your favourite music. One huge positive now is since it’s your own car, you can make pit stops on the way, grab a bite or take pictures, things you couldn’t do before.

Food and Drinks

Then: Picnic baskets full of sandwiches, juices, fresh-cut fruits, chips, biscuits, sponge cake, and other savouries would have been the highlight of a picnic as a child! You may have even helped your parents with preparing or packing the food. And school picnics usually involved a standard meal for all students.

Now: Today, it’s quite natural to opt for convenience or luxury when it comes to travel. So, you may skip planning and packing meals, opting instead for a packaged deal at resorts and clubs. Travelling with a bunch of people who have different tastes and preferences also often leads to ordering a-la-carte from a restaurant menu or stopping by fast-food chains to pick up your favourite snacks.

Activities and Entertainment

Then: Back then, no picnic was complete without outdoor sports. Football, cricket, badminton, hide ‘n seek and tug-of-war, everyone was down for a fun-spirited game. And when it came to infusing a little music into your picnic, you’d either put on the radio or play a rousing game of Anthankshari.

Now: Considering how much you rely on technology for everything today, forgetting your smartphone at home (which is highly unlikely) could pretty much bring your picnic activities to a halt. Today’s picnics involve blaring a well-curated playlist on a Bluetooth speaker, snapping pictures and uploading them to social media instantly or maybe just doing nothing at all. The more curious kind might check out a popular tourist spot or sample food at a famous eatery. The truth is the way you picnic today is flexible and planned to accommodate different interests.

While picnics have changed significantly from when you were a kid, one thing remains the same – the joy and excitement that they bring. The chance to escape the humdrum, routine life and do something fun is something you enjoy no matter how old you get. So, this Picnic Month, while you may not be able to take a classic picnic, you can still travel with a little caution. And if you cannot head out, bring out those photo albums take a trip down memory lane to those happy, carefree days.