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Cracking the White House Easter Egg Roll: 6 Things You Might Not Know

As the Trump administration is finding out, pulling off the White House Easter Egg Roll is no yolk.

More than 35,000 people hop over to the South Lawn every year on Easter Monday to take part in the celebration, where the Easter Bunny and more than 15,000 dyed eggs are waiting.

The White House Easter Egg Roll: An Annual Tradition 1:03

White House Easter festivities — which date back at least to 1878 — usually include storytelling, musical performances and activities like yoga and egg-decorating.

Here are some "egg-cellent" facts you might not know about Easter festivities at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Image: President George W. Bush hugs a person dressed as the Easter bunny at the annual Easter egg roll
President George W. Bush hugs the Easter bunny at the start of the annual Easter egg roll in 2008. Gerald Herbert / AP file

It's an egg roll, not an egg hunt

The first — and last — White House egg hunt was arranged by first lady Pat Nixon's staff in the '70s. The Nixons officially made the egg roll a race in 1974, in which participants shepherded dyed, hard-boiled eggs with a spoon across the White House lawn to see whose went the furthest before cracking. It has since become an Easter staple at the White House.

The first White House Egg Roll happened after Congress passed a law that outlawed it

Image: Eleanor Roosevelt greets 3-year-old Jean Doering of Washington at the start of the annual Easter egg roll
First lady Eleanor Roosevelt pauses to greet 3-year-old Jean Doering at the start of the 1936 White House Easter Egg Roll. AP file

Informal Easter egg rolls started around 1870 as an Easter Monday activity for school children in the Washington D.C. area. Outraged at the damage caused by egg-rollers, Congress passed the Turf Protection Law "to prevent any portion of the Capitol grounds and terraces from being used as playgrounds" on April 29, 1876.

The bill went unchallenged in 1877 as rain cancelled the day's activities. However, President Rutherford B. Hayes kept the tradition alive the following year by inviting egg-rollers to the White House lawn. This event stands as the first official White House Easter Egg Roll.

White House Easter games don't include real eggs

The practice of using real eggs stopped during Herbert Hoover's presidency in 1929 in order to eliminate the lingering smell of the eggs broken throughout the day. Since then, the White House has been using plastic and wooden eggs.

Press Secretary wasn't Sean Spicer's first White House job

Spicer took on the role of the Easter Bunny to entertain children at the White House Egg Roll during George W. Bush's presidency, when he was working in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Image: U.S. President Bush blows a whistle to start the annual Easter Egg Roll in Washington
President George W. Bush with first lady Laura Bush and Sean Spicer dressed as the Easter Bunny in Washington on March 24, 2008. Jason Reed / Reuters, file

Photos of the now-Press Secretary wearing the white, fluffy costume also surfaced social media.

The Easter Bunny first appeared at the egg roll in 1969, when a member of Pat Nixon's staff put on the costume. It has since been a White House tradition.

Other Easter animals also make a showing

Animals other than the famous rabit have even appeared on the South Lawn for Easter Monday. First lady Grace Coolidge's raccoon, the Carter family's 1,200-pound steer, and the Obamas' dogs Sunny and Bo have all attended the popular event.

Image: Grace Coolidge and Her Pet Raccoon
First lady Grace Coolidge shows her pet raccoon to children gathered on the White House grounds for Easter egg rolling. Library of Congress / Getty Images

Related: First Pets: Dogs, Cats, and a Raccoon Among Past Presidents Best Friends

Who gets to go?

Image: President Bill Clinton blows a whistle to signal the start of the annual Easter egg roll
President Bill Clinton blows a whistle to signal the start of the Easter egg roll in 1999. J. Scott Applewhite / AP file

The White House Easter Egg Roll has come a long way since the days of President Hayes. According to Press Secretary — and former Easter Bunny — Sean Spicer, the White House is expecting 21,000 people to attend this year's event. Last year, the Obama's welcomed 35,000 people to the White House for the final Easter Egg Roll of his presidency.

Spicer said tickets have been allocated to "schools, children's hospitals, and military and law enforcement families" during a recent press briefing.

Children under the age of twelve will be given wooden eggs inscribed with signatures of the president and first lady, a tradition that began with the Reagan family in 1981.

Here's a sneak peek of this year's keepsakes: