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Rolling Down the Front Lawn

Kinsey Bundrant, Staff Writer

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In 1878, when James Madison was in office, his wife and First Lady, Dolley Madison, came up with the idea of having an Easter celebration on the front lawn of the White House. This is where the tradition of egg rolling came to be. Sadly, in 1870, when Ulysses S. Grant was in office, he signed a bill that banned rolling eggs on the capital grounds because he said it was childish and a waste of time. In 1878, a group of children went to the White House gates in hopes that they could play egg rolling games. Luckily, the new president, Rutherford B. Hayes, allowed the children in and made it a tradition. It was not until 1889, when President Benjamin Harrison was in office, that music was added to the festivities by the Marine’s band. The rolling had to be put on hold during the years of 1917-1920 and 1946-1952 because of the two World Wars. When the festivities did come back, they were bigger than ever. In 1939, attendance had to start being limited due to the increasing popularity. The traditions are still held every year to this day and are always planned by the first ladies.

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