The White House Easter Egg roll is believed to have originated by Dolly Madison. According to newspapers of the time there were public egg rolls as early as 1872, but these occurred on the lawn of the capital not the White House. In 1876 there was large crowd and heavy damage was inflicted upon the capital grass and the turf protection law was enacted to prevent this area from being used in the future. The 1877 festival was rained out. In 1878 there was a notice sent out at the last moment that using the lawn of the capital building was prohibited. There is some debate about the sequence of events. Some say an angry crowd stormed the White House gates and demanded that they be allowed to roll the eggs, or the president heard about the crowd and ordered the gates opened. The White House Easter egg roll has been a tradition ever since.
The celebrations have evolved over the years and have included the first radio address, maypole dances, circuses, petting zoos and hot air balloons. However the most anticipated part is the arrival of the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny is traditionally a White House staff member who wears a costume head. This Easter Bunny is kept secret and never seen without its costume head. The most famous bunny was the wife of Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General Ursula Meese. She enjoyed the part and played the role for six years, causing the press to give her the nickname ‘the Meestor bunny’
In some countries eggs are rolled downhill, and to symbolize the stone that blocked Christ’s tomb being rolled away. This symbolism contradicts with the opinion of many religious scholars who believe the stone covering the door was actually rolled uphill.
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