A Short History of the White House Easter Egg Roll

NPR documents a brief history of the annual egg roll tradition while wondering why the costumed bunny is almost always a scary sight

The tradition of rolling eggs on the White House's South Lawn began 140 years ago, officially dating back to Rutherford B. Hayes' administration.

Informal Easter festivities for children in the capital go back even further. Schools in Washington D.C. used to close the day after Easter, so kids could "ramble at will on the fresh green grass of the Capitol," until Congress stepped in to ruin the fun with the ultimate "get off my lawn" move. The Turf Protection Act, passed in 1876, forbid using the Capitol grounds "as play-grounds."

That bill led President Hayes to open the White House grounds for the first official Easter egg roll in 1878. In recent years, the focus hasn't been on the president, or the first lady, who officially hosts the event, but on another guest: the Easter bunny. And more specifically, just how scary that costume is.

Read the full feature here.

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images via NPR)

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