History Behind the White House Easter Egg Roll

White House Easter Egg Roll

Historically minded residents of Warrenton, VA – have you ever wondered how the tradition of the White House Easter Egg Roll started? Well, the debate is still on. Many think Dolly Madison is the one that should be given credit for the formal beginning of one of the biggest traditions of any Presidential era starting in 1878. Others believe that a less casual egg rolling tradition was around dating back to the Lincoln Administration.

Egg Roll on the U.S. Capital’s West Grounds

What we do know is that the place of origin for the egg rolling tradition was not on the South Lawn where it is held today. The first Easter Egg Roll event took place on the U.S. Capital’s West Grounds. However, Ulysses S. Grant, our 18th President, was concerned with the sanctity of the Capital’s landscape and passed a law banning any future egg rolling on said grounds.

People had already dressed up and traveled to the Capital for the event did not know this law was passed. They walked up to the White House hoping that then President Rutherford B. Hayes would let the children roll their eggs down the soft hills of the South Lawn. The President ordered the guards to open the White House gates, and a new tradition of THE WHITE HOUSE Easter Egg Roll Event was enacted. Therefore, this is where the celebration continues today.

New Egg Roll Traditions Each Year

Each Presidential family puts a different spin on how they want to celebrate the egg roll tradition. In 1885 President Grover Cleveland thought it would be nice to let his guests visit him in the East Room. Yet, the first-time visitors ruined the East room rug with ground-in broken hard-boiled eggs. When Cleveland won a non-consecutive term in 1893, he omitted the personal access into the White House and just continued the activities on the South Lawn. President Benjamin Harrison added a new tradition to the White House Easter Egg Rolling Event. He requested that the United States Marine Band give a concert originally directed by John Philip Sousa. This tradition is considered one of the biggest highlights of the event and is continued to this day.

The White House Egg Rolling tradition will continue this year on April 17, 2017. It welcomes an estimated 35,000 lucky participants who receive their free tickets through an annual lottery. Warrenton, Virginia residents are encouraged to try their luck at the lottery and experience this time-honored tradition. You will be a part of American history at The White House Easter Egg Roll Festivities.

April 11, 2017
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