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The Role of Egg Rolling at Easter in The United States

by acenh (03/22/08).
Ukranian Pysanka Egg

The Easter Egg Roll at The White House dates back to 1814 when President James Madison’s wife Dolly Madison started the tradition for the children. This tradition continued until 1877 when children were banned from the White House grounds when a new lawn was installed. The ban lasted only one year when President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the grounds on Capitol Hill for children to play in 1878 and it has been an annual tradition ever since.

Egg rolling, or egg pacing as it is called in England, dates back several hundred years. People would actually compete to see who could roll their egg the farthest. The winner usually got to keep all the eggs in the competition. They also believed at this time that any egg shell debris had to be carefully picked up and destroyed or else the shells would be collected by witches at night and used in witchcraft.

In Germany, children would roll their decorated eggs down a hillside as a symbol of the rock rolling back Christ’s tomb in the story of the Resurrection.

Egg decorating spans all countries and cultures. In my photo I have featured a Ukranian “Pysanka” egg. The word comes from “pysaty” meaning “to write.” This egg design method has its designs written in beeswax and then the colors are carefully stained in what is called “wax resist” method. The eggs are decorated while still uncooked and the contents evaporate after several weeks.

So, I wish you all an happy and prosperous Easter and whatever you do don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

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