History of the White House Easter Egg Roll

For one day a year since 1878, the South Lawn of the White House has been open to the public. And this year, thousands of children will head to the White House for its biggest social event: the annual Easter Egg Roll.

The White House Easter Egg Roll dates back to the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes and is among the office’s oldest traditions.

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<p>An illustration shows a nanny running after a group of children who are participating in an egg-rolling contest on the grounds of the White House, circa late 19th century. This was part of the Easter celebration in Washington. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images) </p>
Nanny Runs after children near White House

An illustration shows a nanny running after a group of children who are participating in an egg-rolling contest on the grounds of the White House, circa late 19th century. This was part of the Easter celebration in Washington. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

<p>Children and adults on the White House grounds for the Easter Egg Roll in Washington, 1889. </p>
Children and adults at White House for Easter Egg Roll

Children and adults on the White House grounds for the Easter Egg Roll in Washington, 1889.

<p>A boy and a girl hold hands during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, in this photograph taken in 1898 in Washington. (Photo: Francis Benjamin Johnston/Library of Congress) </p>
Boy and girl hold hands in front of White House

A boy and a girl hold hands during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, in this photograph taken in 1898 in Washington. (Photo: Francis Benjamin Johnston/Library of Congress)

<p>Boys sit in front of the White House during the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington in 1911. (Photo: Library of Congress) </p>
Boys at Easter Egg Roll

Boys sit in front of the White House during the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington in 1911. (Photo: Library of Congress)

<p>Children play in front of the White House during the Easter Egg Rolling event in Washington, 1914. </p>
Children at Easter Egg Rolling

Children play in front of the White House during the Easter Egg Rolling event in Washington, 1914.

<p>Children at the 1923 White House Easter Egg Roll. </p>
Children at Easter Egg Roll

Children at the 1923 White House Easter Egg Roll.

<p>Easter at the White House in Washington with people gathered around the fountain on the South Lawn, 1926. </p>
People around White House fountain

Easter at the White House in Washington with people gathered around the fountain on the South Lawn, 1926.

<p>Warren Sonnemann holds up a prize Easter basket at the White House Easter Egg Rolling, April 2, 1923, in Washington. </p>
Boy holding Easter basket prize

Warren Sonnemann holds up a prize Easter basket at the White House Easter Egg Rolling, April 2, 1923, in Washington.

<p>President Warren G. Harding and First Lady Florence Harding, along their their pet dog Laddie Boy watch from a balcony as the annual Easter Monday children’s egg-rolling event takes place on the White House lawn in Washington, circa 1922. (Photo by FPG/Keystone View Company/Archive Photos/Getty Images) </p>
Warren Harding And Florence Harding on White House balcony

President Warren G. Harding and First Lady Florence Harding, along their their pet dog Laddie Boy watch from a balcony as the annual Easter Monday children’s egg-rolling event takes place on the White House lawn in Washington, circa 1922. (Photo by FPG/Keystone View Company/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

<p>Egg rolling at Easter at the White House in Washington, April 5, 1926. (Photo: Library of Congress) </p>
Crowd on lawn of White House

Egg rolling at Easter at the White House in Washington, April 5, 1926. (Photo: Library of Congress)

<p>First Lady Grace Coolidge holds her pet raccoon, Rebecca, for a crowd of children at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, April 18, 1927. </p>
Grace Coolidge and pet raccoon

First Lady Grace Coolidge holds her pet raccoon, Rebecca, for a crowd of children at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, April 18, 1927.

<p>First lady Grace Coolidge receives children for the Easter Egg Roll at the White House in Washington, April 1925. (Photo: Library of Congress) </p>
Grace Coolidge with children

First lady Grace Coolidge receives children for the Easter Egg Roll at the White House in Washington, April 1925. (Photo: Library of Congress)

<p>A group of people gather on the lawn of the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll, April 21, 1924, in Washington. (Photo: Library of Congress) </p>
People at White House for Easter Egg Roll

A group of people gather on the lawn of the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll, April 21, 1924, in Washington. (Photo: Library of Congress)

<p>Easter Egg Rolling at the White House in Washington, April 1, 1929. (Photo: Science History Images) </p>
Children at Easter Egg Roll

Easter Egg Rolling at the White House in Washington, April 1, 1929. (Photo: Science History Images)

<p>Lady Bird Johnson, right, is shown at the White House Rose Garden with grandson Patrick Lyndon Nugent, Lynda Bird Robb and an Easter Bunny. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images) </p>
Lady Bird Johnson and daughter with Patrick Lyndon Nugent

Lady Bird Johnson, right, is shown at the White House Rose Garden with grandson Patrick Lyndon Nugent, Lynda Bird Robb and an Easter Bunny. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

<p>Tricia Nixon walks the White House grounds in Washington, March 27, 1970, with a couple of Springtime friends – circus clown Bobby Kay and the Easter Bunny, a White House staffer who prefers to remain anonymous. (Photo: Henry Burroughs/AP) </p>
Tricia Nixon on White House lawn with Easter bunny

Tricia Nixon walks the White House grounds in Washington, March 27, 1970, with a couple of Springtime friends – circus clown Bobby Kay and the Easter Bunny, a White House staffer who prefers to remain anonymous. (Photo: Henry Burroughs/AP)

<p>First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt pauses to greet 3-year-old Jean Doering of Washington, at the start of the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House, April 13, 1936. Thousands of children attended. (Photo: AP) </p>
Eleanor Roosevelt with children at start of Easter Egg Roll

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt pauses to greet 3-year-old Jean Doering of Washington, at the start of the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House, April 13, 1936. Thousands of children attended. (Photo: AP)

<p>President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes an appearance on the South Portico of the White House with wife Eleanor on April 10, 1939, as he cheers on children at the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington. (Photo: AP) </p>
President Roosevelt appears on the South Portico with wife Eleanor

President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes an appearance on the South Portico of the White House with wife Eleanor on April 10, 1939, as he cheers on children at the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington. (Photo: AP)

<p>President Dwight D. Eisenhower greets the crowd who have come for the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, April 2, 1956. </p>
President Eisenhower greeting crowd

President Dwight D. Eisenhower greets the crowd who have come for the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, April 2, 1956.

<p>President Jimmy Carter holds grandson Jason Carter, 2, on his shoulders while visiting the South Lawn on Monday, April 11, 1977, site of the Easter Egg Roll at the White House in Washington. (Photo: AP) </p>
President Carter holding grandson on shoulders

President Jimmy Carter holds grandson Jason Carter, 2, on his shoulders while visiting the South Lawn on Monday, April 11, 1977, site of the Easter Egg Roll at the White House in Washington. (Photo: AP)

<p>President Jimmy Carter greets the Easter Bunny prior to his departure for a weekend at Camp David in Washington March 22, 1978. Inside the rabbit suit is Louise Dolan, who wore the suit to the departure as a gag. First lady Rosalynn Carter is speaking to Suzy Kerr who works with Dolan in the White House. (Photo: Jeff Taylor/AP) </p>
Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter with Easter bunny

President Jimmy Carter greets the Easter Bunny prior to his departure for a weekend at Camp David in Washington March 22, 1978. Inside the rabbit suit is Louise Dolan, who wore the suit to the departure as a gag. First lady Rosalynn Carter is speaking to Suzy Kerr who works with Dolan in the White House. (Photo: Jeff Taylor/AP)

<p>First lady Nancy Reagan hugs a participant as President Ronald Reagan signs eggs during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 4, 1983. (Photo: John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images) </p>
Nancy and Ronald Reagan with Easter bunny

First lady Nancy Reagan hugs a participant as President Ronald Reagan signs eggs during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 4, 1983. (Photo: John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

<p>People wait at the start of annual Easter egg roll on the White House, April 8, 1985, in Washington. (Photo: AP) </p>
Annual Easter Egg Roll

People wait at the start of annual Easter egg roll on the White House, April 8, 1985, in Washington. (Photo: AP)

<p>First lady Nancy Reagan leads a group of cartoon characters to the South Lawn of the White House Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll, April 20, 1981. (Photo: Barry Thumma/AP) </p>
Nancy Reagan walks down White house steps with Easter characters

First lady Nancy Reagan leads a group of cartoon characters to the South Lawn of the White House Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll, April 20, 1981. (Photo: Barry Thumma/AP)

<p>Vice President and Mrs. Barbara Bush, standing left, watch as a young child starts the annual White House Easter Egg roll, Monday, April 20, 1987 in Washington on the South Lawn of the White House. Some 37,000 people attended the 109th Easter Egg roll. (Photo/Ron Edmonds/AP) </p>
Vice President George Bush and Barbara Bush at start of Easter egg roll

Vice President and Mrs. Barbara Bush, standing left, watch as a young child starts the annual White House Easter Egg roll, Monday, April 20, 1987 in Washington on the South Lawn of the White House. Some 37,000 people attended the 109th Easter Egg roll. (Photo/Ron Edmonds/AP)

<p>President George H.W. Bush bends down and gives his granddaughter, Ellie LeBlond, instructions on how to roll an egg at the lllth annual Easter Egg Roll that took place, Monday, March 27, 1989 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Photo: Dob Daugherty/AP) </p>
President Bush gives granddaughter instructions

President George H.W. Bush bends down and gives his granddaughter, Ellie LeBlond, instructions on how to roll an egg at the lllth annual Easter Egg Roll that took place, Monday, March 27, 1989 on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Photo: Dob Daugherty/AP)

<p>First lady Barbara Bush, granddaughter Marshall Bush, and son Neil Bush are flanked by Easter bunnies as they stand on the White House balcony in Washington, March 27, 1989. (Photo: Bob Daugherty/AP) </p>
Barbara Bush and granddaughter with Easter bunnies

First lady Barbara Bush, granddaughter Marshall Bush, and son Neil Bush are flanked by Easter bunnies as they stand on the White House balcony in Washington, March 27, 1989. (Photo: Bob Daugherty/AP)

<p>Youthful White House visitors take part in the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House Monday April 24, 2000. (Photo: Khue Bui/AP) </p>
Children on White House lawn

Youthful White House visitors take part in the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House Monday April 24, 2000. (Photo: Khue Bui/AP)

<p>As the Easter Bunny applauds at right, President Clinton huddles with first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House, Monday, April 8, 1996, during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll and Hunt. (Photo: Dennis Cook/AP) </p>
Bill and Hillary Clinton with Easter Bunny

As the Easter Bunny applauds at right, President Clinton huddles with first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House, Monday, April 8, 1996, during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll and Hunt. (Photo: Dennis Cook/AP)

<p>Children and their families gather on the South Lawn of the White House Monday, March 31, 1997, during the White House Easter Egg Roll. Earlier, with one whistle blast, President Clinton sent hundreds of children scampering across the White House lawn during the annual event. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP) </p>
Children and families on White House lawn

Children and their families gather on the South Lawn of the White House Monday, March 31, 1997, during the White House Easter Egg Roll. Earlier, with one whistle blast, President Clinton sent hundreds of children scampering across the White House lawn during the annual event. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)

<p>First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton laughs as President Clinton shows off his Easter Egg tie during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll and Hunt, Monday, April 8, 1996. (Photo: Ruth Fremson/AP) </p>
Hillary Clinton laughs as Bill Clinton shows Easter tie

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton laughs as President Clinton shows off his Easter Egg tie during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll and Hunt, Monday, April 8, 1996. (Photo: Ruth Fremson/AP)

<p>Jenna Bush, daughter of President George W. Bush, sits alongside someone dressed as “Arthur” as she prepares to read the book “Where the Wild Things Are” at the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 24, 2008. The traditional White House event dates back to 1878. (Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters) </p>
Jenna Bush reads a book at the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington

Jenna Bush, daughter of President George W. Bush, sits alongside someone dressed as “Arthur” as she prepares to read the book “Where the Wild Things Are” at the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 24, 2008. The traditional White House event dates back to 1878. (Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)

<p>Wooden Easter eggs with President Bush and Laura Bush’s signature are given, Monday, April 21, 2003, to those who take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House. President Bush and wife Laura return later from a Easter weekend stay at the Crawford, Texas, ranch. (Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP) </p>
Easter eggs in hand on White House lawn

Wooden Easter eggs with President Bush and Laura Bush’s signature are given, Monday, April 21, 2003, to those who take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House. President Bush and wife Laura return later from a Easter weekend stay at the Crawford, Texas, ranch. (Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP)

<p>President Bush hugs a person dressed as the Easter bunny at the start of the annual Easter Egg Roll, Monday, March 24, 2008, overlooking the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Photo:Gerald Herbert/AP) </p>
George W. Bush and Easter Bunny

President Bush hugs a person dressed as the Easter bunny at the start of the annual Easter Egg Roll, Monday, March 24, 2008, overlooking the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Photo:Gerald Herbert/AP)

<p>Women dressed as Easter Eggs attend the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 24, 2008. The traditional White House event dates back to 1878. (Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters) </p>
Women dressed as Easter Eggs

Women dressed as Easter Eggs attend the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 24, 2008. The traditional White House event dates back to 1878. (Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters)

<p>First lady Laura Bush waves with the Easter Bunny at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 1, 2002, in Washington. 10,800 eggs were boiled, the president’s dog was captured in a chocolate sculpture and the White House opened the gates to hundreds of children for the annual egg roll on the South Lawn. (Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP) </p>
Laura Bush waving with Easter Bunny

First lady Laura Bush waves with the Easter Bunny at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 1, 2002, in Washington. 10,800 eggs were boiled, the president’s dog was captured in a chocolate sculpture and the White House opened the gates to hundreds of children for the annual egg roll on the South Lawn. (Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP)

<p>President Bush poses with children during the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington, Monday, April 17, 2006.The egg roll has been held at the White House since 1878, after a stint on the Capitol grounds. Thousands waited in long lines for the free tickets. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP) </p>
President Bush posing with children

President Bush poses with children during the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington, Monday, April 17, 2006.The egg roll has been held at the White House since 1878, after a stint on the Capitol grounds. Thousands waited in long lines for the free tickets. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

<p>President Barack Obama helps a little boy roll his egg to the finish line during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 9, 2012, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. In the background, at left are Malia Obama and Sasha Obama. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP) </p>
President Obama helping boy roll egg

President Barack Obama helps a little boy roll his egg to the finish line during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 9, 2012, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. In the background, at left are Malia Obama and Sasha Obama. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

<p>President Barack Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and the Easter Bunny, wave as they hosted the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 5, 2010, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP) </p>
Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama. Malia Obama and Easter Bunny

President Barack Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha, and the Easter Bunny, wave as they hosted the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Monday, April 5, 2010, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP)

<p>President Barack Obama cheers on children before blowing the whistle to start the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 13, 2009. (Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP) </p>
Barack Obama cheering on children

President Barack Obama cheers on children before blowing the whistle to start the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 13, 2009. (Photo: Charles Dharapak/AP)

<p>Grace William, 5, left, and Reagan Williams, 6, of Fairfax Station, Va. participate in the annual Easter Egg Roll, Monday, March 24, 2008, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP) </p>
Grace William, Reagan Williams on White House lawn

Grace William, 5, left, and Reagan Williams, 6, of Fairfax Station, Va. participate in the annual Easter Egg Roll, Monday, March 24, 2008, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

<p>Visitors stroll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 24, 2008, during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. (Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP) </p>
White House Easter Egg Roll sign

Visitors stroll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 24, 2008, during the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. (Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP)

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