Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Here's the story of the White House Easter Egg Roll that I have here, from this wonderful site!

The original site of the Easter Egg Roll was the grounds of the United States Capitol. The event began during the Presidency of James Madison (1809-1817) at the suggestion of his wife, Dolley Madison. Mrs. Madison was fascinated to learn that Egyptian children rolled colored eggs on the site of the Pyramids. She thought the children of the Washington area would enjoy this enchanting activity.

In 1877, under orders from members of Congress, Capitol policemen required the children to leave the grounds. Some Congressmen, tired of slipping and sliding on the remains of boiled eggs, felt the grounds should no longer be torn up in such a way. Some sources tell us that one irritated nursemaid, followed by several of her charges, stormed down to the White House where she demanded access to the White House grounds for egg rolling. Others claim that President Rutherford B. Hayes, riding by the Capitol grounds in his carriage, saw the tearful children and invited them to the White House for their egg roll.

In 1878 President Hayes and his wife Lucy officially opened the White House grounds to the children of the area for egg rolling on Easter Monday. The event has been held on the South Lawn ever since, except during World War I and World War II. During the war years the Easter Egg Roll was held at the National Zoo, and other Washington locations.

The White House Easter Egg Roll is eagerly awaited each year by thousands of children. It is always held on the Monday after Easter, on the South Lawn of the White House. Children hunt for brightly colored wooden signature eggs hidden in hay. Many of these eggs have been signed by famous people, including the athletes, astronauts, musicians, and celebrities from film, television, and theatre who visit the White House during the year. Of course, the real treasures are the eggs personally signed by the President and First Lady (as well as Socks)!

By the late 1800s such games as "Egg Picking," "Egg Ball," "Toss and Catch," and "Egg Croquet" were popular Easter Monday activities. The children attending the event take part in many newer activities, but rolling a hard-boiled egg across the lawn is still a highlight of the day.


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posted by Dave Richards at Tuesday, February 20, 2007 ¤ Permalink ¤