How the White House Rolls

Explore the history behind the iconic Easter Egg Roll.

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White House Easter Egg Roll

Since 1878, the Monday after Easter has been a huge day at the White House, when thousands of children push eggs across the lawn with spoons in the annual Easter Egg Roll. Here’s how this weird, wonderful tradition started.

1878

President Rutherford B. Hayes invites kids to roll eggs at the White House after the tradition was banned on Capitol Hill because it messed up the grass. The official White House Easter Egg Roll commences.

1889

President Benjamin Harrison asks the United States Marine Band, directed by John Philip Sousa, to play at the event. Many years later, Sousa writes a song called "Easter Monday on the White House Lawn."

1928

Grace Coolidge’s pet 1928 raccoon, Rebecca, attends the party. Other animal attendees over the years have included Benjamin Harrison’s pony, Warren G. Harding’s Airedale and, during the Carter years, a steer named Big Red.

1941

Eleanor Roosevelt hosts the biggest White House Easter Egg Roll ever, with 53,248 attendees.

1953

President Dwight D. Eisenhower brings the Egg Roll back after a decade without it: World War II, and then construction at the White House, had interrupted the tradition.

1969

One of Pat Nixon’s staff members dresses in a white jumpsuit and Peter Rabbit mask. The Easter Bunny has shown up many times since. During the George W. Bush administration, Sean Spicer, then an aide, took on the role.

2016

Beyoncé and Jay-Z attend the Obamas’ final Easter Egg Roll. During President Barack Obama’s years in office, pop stars like Fergie, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber perform for the kids.

2017

The Trumps' first Easter Egg Roll features story time, bocce and commemorative eggs — some painted gold!