The ground of the United States Capitol was the original site of the Easter Monday Egg Roll. It was during the Presidency of James Madison that this event began when his wife, Dolly Madison held an event in 1814 and allowed the children of Washington area to enjoy and follow the egg rolling activity as done by the Egyptian children. The egg rolling activity on the occasion of Easter was banned in 1876 and the site was closed off after President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill. The reason given for the same was egg-rolling caused mush wear and tear to the lawns.
It was in 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes, while riding his carriage by the Capitol Grounds, saw some tearful and crying children and invited them to the White House for the Easter egg roll. The White House ground was thus, officially opened to the children for egg rolling by President Hayes and his wife. Ever since then, this event is being held on the South Lawn of the White House. However, the event was canceled on occasions due to poor weather and during World War I and World War II. The event was hence, held at the National Zoo and on the grounds surrounding the Capitol during the war years.
In 1885, President Cleveland became the first President to join the egg roll on a demand from kids. The Easter of 1889 saw the introduction of music on the Easter egg roll. The United States Marine Band, conducted by John Philip Sousa composed "Easter Monday in the White House lawn" to honor the tradition. By 1899, this tradition became very popular with over 8,000 people attending the event. By the late 1800s, various games were included as popular Easter Monday activities, such as "Egg Picking", "Egg Ball", "Toss and Catch" and "Egg Croquet".
In the 1930s, the rule of allowing one adult per child was instituted by the White House. Since then, Easter Egg Roll is enthusiastically looked upon by a large number of children. Autographed eggs were hidden in the Egg hunt for kids to find during President Ronald Reagan's reign. By affixing signatures to the commemorative egg, President George W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush became the first to do so. In 2010, eggs were made from recyclable paperboard to minimize waste and environmental impact. Also, the fruits and vegetables included for the event were organically grown.
Though the children take part in many activities, rolling a hard-boiled egg across the lawn of the White House still forms the highlight of the day. Children look out for vibrantly colored wooden signature eggs hidden inside hay. Another fascinating part of these Easter eggs is that most of them are signed by celebrities, such as athletes, astronauts, musicians, actors and actresses. The eggs signed by the President and First Lady are the most sought after ones! Today, one can see over 30,000 people attending the Easter egg roll every year in the White House.
The history of the White house Gardens Easter egg roll is very interesting. The then president of the States, President Hayes had an important role in the White house egg roll tradition.