Annual Easter Egg Roll: It’s History at the White House
Every year the White House hosts the annual White House Easter Egg Roll and this year will be no different. This tradition has, over the years, outgrown the capacity of the White House South Lawn itself and a lottery system is used to distribute tickets to some 35,000 lucky people each year.
The Easter Egg roll has become more than just a rolling competition as it was nearly 150 years ago when it first began, but rather is now an all-day celebration with musical performances, Easter Egg hunt, story time, dancing, science experiments, yoga, and much more.
The event features over 14,000 hard-boiled eggs which are hand-dyed for use in the Easter egg roll and egg hunt, and visually impaired children are able to participate in the Egg Roll and Egg Hunt through the use of special “chirping eggs.” All of this is made possibly by the hard work of nearly 1,200 volunteers lending their time and talent to make the event a fun and memorable one.
There is a long and storied past with the Annual White House Easter Egg Rolling Tradition, and it started not as a fun way for children to celebrate the holiday, but rather as a way to keep the kids from destroying Capitol Hill.
Time Magazine ran a great article a couple of years ago detailing the history of the Easter Egg Roll and how it ended up happening at the White House due to a landscaping budget at the Capitol Building. The over zealous egg rolling of Easter 1876 caused damage to the grass and Congress passed a law forbidding the grounds from being “used as a children’s playground,” starting in 1877. The next year, President Hayes offered the White House lawns for the event.
The article also goes on to say how even though egg rolling itself may have fallen out of favor, the White House egg roll has not and is the largest annual event held at the White House. This is why the lottery system has been instituted — on average there are almost 50,000 lottery applicants requesting around 200,000 tickets in the lottery.
For more information regarding the history of the White House Easter Egg Roll, you can read this Time Magazine article or visit the official White House web page regarding the Egg Roll Activities of the day, including an illustrated map of events and historical tidbits.