President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden attend the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in 2022.

The White House Easter Egg Roll has been a spring tradition for more than 140 years.
Rutherford B. Hayes started the tradition after kids were banned from rolling eggs on Capitol Hill.
The Bidens hosted the White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday.

For over 140 years, US presidents have welcomed members of the public to celebrate Easter on the White House lawn with an Easter Egg Roll.

Dating back to the 1870s, the annual Easter Egg Roll is one of the oldest White House traditions. This year, the Bidens hosted 40,000 people who rolled, hunted, and ate a total of around 64,000 eggs provided by the American Egg Board.

Take a look at how the Easter event has evolved throughout US history.

On Easter Monday, the hottest ticket in Washington, DC, is the annual Easter Egg Roll.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden participate in the 2023 White House Easter Egg Roll in April 2023.

Washingtonian families have spent the day on the South Lawn of the White House rolling and playing with their dyed Easter eggs since President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the gates to the Executive Mansion in 1878.

Since then, the affair has become one of the most high-profile events that takes place at the White House each year. In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, Melinda Bates, who organized eight years of Clinton-era Easter Egg Rolls said, “The White House and the first lady are judged on how well they put it on.”

President Hayes started the widely successful White House tradition in 1878 after Congress banned children from rolling their eggs on Capitol Hill.
Children playing on the South Lawn during the White House Egg Roll in April 1929.

The Evening Star reported, “Driven out of the Capitol grounds, the children advanced on the White House grounds to-day and rolled eggs down the terraces back of the Mansion, and played among the shrubbery to their heart’s content.”

The children loved rolling their eggs and themselves down the “Jefferson Mounds” on the South Lawn.
Children play on the South Lawn.

The Jefferson Mounds, landscaped by President Thomas Jefferson himself, add a gentle hill to the White House’s South Lawn.

In 1887, President Grover Cleveland began inviting children into the East Room of the White House, ruining several rugs in the process.
President Grover Cleveland in the East Room with his Easter Egg Roll guests.

In fact, The Washington Post described the White House floors as “ground full of freshly smashed hard-boiled egg and broken egg shells,” according to the White House Historical Association.

President Benjamin Harrison couldn’t help but join in on the fun and made the first presidential appearance in 1889, holding his grandson Benjamin Harrison McKee.
President Harding speaks from the South Portico of the White House before the start of the Easter Egg Roll.

After Harrison’s appearance, presidents regularly watched and joined in on the White House revelry.

Harrison also added music to the festivities for the first time.
An illustration shows the US Marine Band, which has become a signature part of the egg roll’s entertainment.

In 1889, the United States Marine Band directed by John Philip Sousa played on the South Lawn, according to the White House Historical Association.

Easter Monday festivities were canceled several times due to war and construction between 1918 and 1942.
The White House as viewed from the South Lawn.

In 1918, the District of Columbia food administrator canceled the event due to the destruction of eggs, saying, “nothing that is an article of diet should be destroyed” during the war, according to the White House Historical Association.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower reinstated the egg roll for good in 1953.
Children wander the litter-strewn lawn following the annual White House Easter Egg Roll in 1953.

Eisenhower’s grandchildren even participated in the event until security had to extract the three children from the huge surrounding crowds.

Jimmy Carter transformed the event from a simple egg roll to a full-on carnival complete with a three-ring circus.
President Jimmy Carter and his grandson Jason.

The president’s 2-year-old grandson Jason Carter even made an appearance on the South Lawn in 1977.

Rising to the occasion, the Reagans added Broadway show performances and balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
President Ronald Reagan whistles to begin the egg race.

They also hid wooden eggs signed by celebrities around the grounds for children to find, a tradition that is still upheld today.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush really got into the Easter celebration.
President George H.W. Bush blows a whistle at the White House Easter Egg Roll in 1990.

President Bush blew a whistle indicating the start of an egg roll competition that his 3-year-old granddaughter Marshall took part in.

Continuing the new whistle tradition, Bill Clinton also signaled the start of the 1993 Easter egg hunt with a whistle blow.
President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton cheer during the 1993 White House Easter Egg Roll.

A big fan of the Easter event, first lady Hillary Clinton never missed a single egg roll while her husband was in office and even had an official grandstand built for the occasion.

The Obama-era White House egg rolls did not disappoint.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll in 2014.

The entire Obama family, including Barack’s mother-in-law, joined kids and their families on the White House lawn to read books, shoot some hoops, and take part in healthy cooking demonstrations.

In an attempt to open up the event to more people, the Obama administration established an online lottery for tickets. They also invited scores of celebrities including Idina Menzel and Christian Bale.

Donald Trump’s egg rolls included all of the event’s classic markers, with several of the president’s nine grandchildren in attendance.
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, their son Barron Trump, and members of the first family, at an Easter egg roll in 2017.

The Associated Press reported that 30,000 parents and children attended the White House Easter Egg Roll in 2018.

Several egg-free activities have joined the festivities over the years, including inflatable bowling.
Guests participate in activities during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 2, 2018.

Melania Trump added inflatable bowling to the Easter Egg Roll in 2018.

At the 2019 Easter Egg Roll, Trump joined young attendees at the coloring table.
President Donald Trump at the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll.

The event also featured Easter-egg hopscotch.

The annual Easter Egg Roll was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, and the Easter Bunny in 2021.

In 2021, the Bidens appeared on the balcony of the White House with the Easter Bunny, who was also wearing a face mask.

“The virus is not gone, and the second year in a row most will be apart from their families or friends and a full congregation to fill us with so much joy. But the Scripture tells us, ‘Joy cometh in the morning,'” Biden said in his remarks.

The White House Easter Egg Roll returned in all its glory in 2021.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden attend the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in 2022.

“We weren’t able to host this Easter Egg Roll last year because of the pandemic. But this year, we’re finally getting together again, and it’s so special,” Biden told the crowd. “It means so much to see and hear the children and all the families show up to be here today. The joy, the laughter, and the occasional — at least with my young grandson, who’s only 2 — the occasional, ‘There’s the Easter Bunny.’ A little startled sometimes. But the joy and the laughter is something that has been a wonderful tradition here at the White House for a long, long time.”

Celebrity guests Jimmy Fallon and Kristin Chenoweth joined the president and first lady for story time in 2021.
The Bidens with “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon at the 2022 White House Easter Egg Roll.

Fallon read a copy of his children’s book “Nana Loves You More!”

At last year’s Easter Egg Roll, the Bidens’ youngest grandson, Beau, helped the first lady read “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”
First lady Jill Biden sits with her grandson Beau Biden as she reads “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” to children in the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden in April 2023.

“Thank you Beau. Thank you for reading with Nana,” the first lady said when she finished reading the book by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and husband Chasten Buttigieg brought their 1-year-old twins, Penelope and August.
Pete Buttigieg takes a picture of his husband and their children in April 2023.

Around 30,000 people attended the annual event, which was broken into nine sessions, according to a White House press release. Activities included the traditional egg roll as well as an egg hunt, a talent show, a photo booth with costumed characters, and a dinosaur activity tent.

This year’s Easter Egg Roll was themed around “EGGucation,” inspired by the first lady’s career as a teacher.
Decorations adorn the White House during the annual Easter Egg Roll in April 2024.

The event featured educational activities, an obstacle course in a “physical EGGucation zone,” and costumed characters such as Daniel Tiger, Winnie the Pooh, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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