On Monday, April 2, 2018, First Lady Melania Trump will host the 140th annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House! The White House Easter Egg Roll is a timeless tradition that dates back to 1878 under the Administration of President Rutherford B. Hayes. President Donald J. Trump and the First Lady are honored to continue the traditions of the past while weaving new traditions into the fabric of our Nation.
The ticket lottery for the White House Easter Egg Roll is now closed. For more information, please visit recreation.gov. Winners of the ticket lottery will be notified via email no later than Monday, March 5, 2018.
As in past years, the White House will also select volunteers for the Egg Roll through an online application. The application closed on February 23, 2018. If selected, you will be notified via email by March 9, 2018.
History of the White House Easter Egg Roll
The White House Easter Egg Roll officially dates back to 1878 and the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes, but first-hand accounts suggest that informal festivities began with egg-rolling parties under President Abraham Lincoln. Starting in the 1870s, Easter Monday celebrations on the U.S. Capitol’s west grounds grew so popular that President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill that banned the rolling of eggs on Capitol grounds, citing landscape concerns.
In 1878, a group of bold children walked up to the White House gate, hoping to be allowed to play egg-rolling games there. President Hayes told his guards to let the children enter, and soon Easter Monday on the White House grounds became an annual tradition. President Benjamin Harrison added music to the festivities in 1889 with the United States Marine Band.
Egg roll attendance grew so popular that the number of guests had to be limited, and in 1939, the Secret Service had to go so far as shutting down a “racket” of children trying to sneak adults into the event for a fee.
The planning of the egg roll traditionally falls on first ladies, each incorporating her own tastes and interests to the event. First Lady Lou Hoover had part of the South Lawn roped off for folk dancing. First Lady Pat Nixon introduced the traditional egg roll races.
Because of World War I and World War II, there were no egg rolls from 1917 to 1920 and from 1943 to 1945. Food conservation and then construction on the White House prevented any celebrations from 1946 to 1952, as well. Fortunately, President Dwight D. Eisenhower reinstated the tradition in 1953.
The custom to receive a wooden Easter egg when leaving the event began in 1981 — an idea instituted by First Lady Nancy Reagan — and became a keepsake cherished by guests that donned the signature of the President and First Lady. Commemorative eggs for the 2018 event will be available for purchase in the coming months.
This year’s 140th White House Easter Egg Roll will be hosted by First Lady Melania Trump on April 2, 2018.