WHAT IS THE WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL?
- The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that has spanned more than 135 years and numerous Presidents. The event is held on the South Lawn of the White House. The egg roll itself involves rolling a hard-boiled colored egg on the lawn with a large serving spoon, although the event now has many more activities for participants, such as musical groups, an egg hunt, sports, reading, cooking, and crafts, among other activities. For participating, each child is given a commemorative wooden Easter egg signed by the President and First Lady. Under current rules, a family must have at least one child 13 or under to attend. The White House Easter Egg roll is held on the Monday after Easter. The 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll is scheduled for March 28, 2016. The theme for the 2016 Easter Egg Roll is "Let's Celebrate!" The tickets for the Easter Egg Roll are distributed by an online lottery. The lottery is open for entries from February 12-17.
HISTORY OF THE WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL
- Originally started as an activity by children in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill on their day off from school, the egg rolling and related activities became too much for members of Congress so it was banned by law. The event was moved to the White House in 1878 after President Hayes consented to using the White House lawn and it has continued at the White House nearly every Monday after Easter since. The National Archives has a very comprehensive history of the White House Easter Egg Roll and the archived White House websites from the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations also have historical information and photographs about past Easter Egg Rolls. The White House Historical Association has published a book called The White House Easter Egg Roll designed for children and adults alike. There is also a song called Easter Monday on the White House Lawn that was written by John Phillip Sousa who performed at the Easter Egg Roll with the Marine Band. The National Park Service has a variety of photos from past events.
WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
- During the Obama administration, an estimated 35,000 tickets have been distributed for each year's event. Participants are assigned to one of 5 different time slots, with the event starting at 7:30am and concluding around 6:45 pm. There are a large number of activities for the participants throughout the South Lawn. Due to the number of activities available and the large crowds it is necessary for participants to choose just a few of the activities during the approximately hour and a half time that they are allowed on the White House grounds. President Obama and his family, along with the Easter Bunny have made an appearance at each Easter Egg Roll during his administration. The President and Mrs. Obama have offered a few remarks before participating in some of the activities. The theme for the 2009 Egg Roll was "Let's Go Play!" and the 2010 Egg Roll was "Ready, Set, Go!" The theme for the 2011 Easter Egg Roll was "Get Up and Go!" and the theme for the 2012 event was "Let's Go, Let's Play, Let's Move!" The theme for 2013 was "Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You" and the theme for 2014 was "Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape." The theme for the 2015 White House Easter Egg Roll was "GimmeFive." Each event featured a variety of activities to encourage physical activity and healthy eating, consistent with Mrs. Obama's "Let's Move" initiative to combat childhood obesity. The 2016 event will be the final Easter Egg Roll hosted by the Obamas. The White House website has a slideshow and videos of the 2009-2015 events.