Sadly, the White House Easter egg roll has been cancelled to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Here’s what you need to know:
The White House Easter Egg Roll Was Cancelled Shortly After President Donald Trump Issued a National Emergency for COVID-19
It was only three days after the White House declared a national emergency for COVID-19 that the Office of the First Lady announced the White House Easter Egg Roll would be cancelled. The Easter egg roll was cancelled on March 16, 2020, according to a press release.
Melania Trump used the opportunity to encourage all Americans to follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control to stop the spread of the coronavirus. These tips include washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer when soap and water isn’t available, staying home, and social distancing. The CDC also advised wearing a mask in public places and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
“The health and safety of all Americans must be the first priority, especially right now,” said First Lady Melania Trump in a statement. “I deeply regret this cancellation, but we need to make difficult decisions in the short-term to ensure a healthy country for the long-term. During this time, I encourage everyone to listen to state and local officials, and follow CDC guidelines in order to help protect the health and well-being of everyone.”
The statement said that the event was cancelled “out of an abundance of caution.”
White House Easter Egg Coloring Pages Are Available for Free Downloads
Although the White House Easter Egg Roll has been cancelled, anyone who wants to spread some Easter cheer can do so with coloring pages for the White House Easter eggs. The pages are available for printing and download here. The Office of the First Lady announced in a statement March 16, 2020 that the White House Easter Egg Roll would be cancelled “out of an abundance of caution.”
“Although the White House is unable to host the egg roll on the South Lawn this year, you can still honor the annual tradition by decorating and coloring your own White House Easter Egg at home with these fun egg downloadable cut outs! Place them on your front door, decorate your windows, or send to your loved ones and spread some Easter spirit and cheer,” the statement said.
The coloring pages include seven eggs to color, decorated with the White House emblem and the Presidential seal. One page includes five smaller eggs, and two pages include large versions of both of the Easter eggs.
The First White House Easter Egg Roll Was Held in 1878, Nearly 150 Years Ago
The White House Easter Egg Roll has been a Presidential tradition for 142 years, since 1878, according to the event’s official page. At that time, Rutherford B. Hayes was President. Although 1878 is when the official events started, some say that President Abraham Lincoln would host informal egg-rolling parties before the formal tradition was in place.
“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,” the website said. “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.”
This year, even though the traditional events are not being held, the event is still being commemorated. First lady Melania Trump decided to donate 25,000 commemorative wooden Easter eggs to those who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, according to ABC 13. The donations went to children’s hospitals, federal agencies, aid groups and grocery store chains.
Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, described this year’s eggs as “particularly unique.”
“They’ll be collector’s items,” he said. “They’re for an event that will never take place.”
Melania Trump made a video statement thanking those on the front lines of the pandemic for their efforts.
“It is because of you that the people of America are receiving the care and treatment they need,” she said. “We stand united with you and we salute your courageous and compassionate efforts. Our prayers are with all who are fighting this invisible enemy, COVID-19.”