Easter Sunday may have been yesterday, but that doesn't mean the holiday festivities are over just yet. One of the most famous traditions of the holiday occurs the Monday following Easter Sunday: the White House Easter Egg Roll.
Easter eggs have become an essential part of the spring holiday. It's of course common to decorate them with dye, put them in Easter baskets as part of gifts or hunt for them in your backyard.
However, when was the last time you participated in an Easter egg roll? It's certainly not something you hear about every Easter. This custom might not be as widely practiced among the American people, but it is a great, big American tradition with the White House famously hosting an Easter egg roll every year. But what exactly is an Easter egg roll, and when did this annual event first start?
The White House Easter Egg Roll is a day for children and their families to have a bit of spring fun on the lawn of the White House. Not only is one of the activities to actually roll Easter eggs along the White House lawn, but there's also an Easter egg hunt, live music and cooking demos at this year's event. Oh, and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are also there to participate in the festivities. So, you know, it's kind of a big deal.
Many major holiday celebrations take place at the White House every year, including religious ones like Christmas, so an Easter celebration is really nothing out of the ordinary. But how the White House Easter Egg Roll came to be is actually pretty amazing.
On April 21, 1876, Congress passed the Turf Protection Law, which banned the annual Easter Monday egg roll on Capitol HIll. The Easter egg roll was beloved by local children and was probably started by President Andrew Johnson's family, although some historians say Dolley Madison came up with the idea. However, that didn't spell the end for the tradition. President Rutherford B. Hayes revived the custom in 1878 by inviting children to do some Easter egg rolling on the White House lawn. The event, which has grown and become more elaborate over the years, has been held nearly every Easter ever since.
With more than 35,000 people in attendance this year, the White House Easter Egg Roll is now the largest annual event held at the White House. The event is so big in fact that hopeful attendees had to sign up for a lottery at the end of February this year in order to even attempt to snag tickets.
Those who were lucky enough to attend Monday's festivities got to experience the First Lady dancing, a probably super-creepy Easter bunny and a real-live bat. Now who wouldn't want to take part in a tradition like that?