April 1, 2013 - White House Easter Egg Roll

It would be pretty amazing to see 35,000 people coming together to roll Easter eggs on somebody's lawn!

Even if that “somebody” were the President of the United States!

The White House Easter Egg Roll involves children racing down a marked lane, pushing a decorated hard-boiled egg through the grass with a long-handled spoon. Of course, there are other activities offered in addition to the Easter egg roll. There are games, stories, and even cooking demonstrations.

Check out the official White House page, which includes an activity book you can download and videos of highlights of past years' egg rolls. 

Who started the White House Easter Egg Roll?

During Andrew Johnson's presidency, just after the Civil War, groups of kids did egg-rolling on the grounds of the Capitol. (Actually, some sources say that kids rolled eggs on the Capitol grounds as early as 1814, at the invitation of First Lady Dolley Madison.) At any rate, some members of Congress (probably cranky old men) got upset that kids were messing up their lawn. In 1877, when a new lawn was put in, egg rolling on the lawn was prohibited; Congress even passed a law making it illegal to use the Capitol's grounds as “a children's playground.”

Some kids asked the president at the time, Rutherford Hayes, if they might not use the White House lawn. (He had kids of his own, and they might have been the kids bold enough to ask this question!) He and his wife gave permission, and so in 1878 a tradition was born.

Although egg toss and egg croquet and other activities have been added to the Easter Monday event, rolling decorated hard boiled eggs is the focus. This year will be the 135th White House Egg Roll. In a tradition started by the Reagans, kids who participate get a commemorative wooden egg with signatures of the President and First Lady (and some with paw prints of Bo, the First Dog!).

Also on this date:

April Fool's Day

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