Bidens welcome families back to the White House for the Easter Egg Roll

Rain or shine, the egg roll is back at the White House.

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden welcomed families and children back to the White House on Monday for the annual Easter tradition for the first time in three years, as the nation tries to shake off the pandemic doldrums and get back to normal.

This time, the main impediment was dreary weather.

“My job is to keep it from raining for another two minutes,” Mr. Biden said from the balcony overlooking the South Lawn. “Have fun today. Welcome to the White House, welcome to your house. ”

The Easter Egg Roll, in which children and families roll their Easter eggs through the grass with a long spoon, is held on Easter Monday and hosted by the president and first lady.

Mr. Biden presided over the first race, blowing a whistle before kids feverishly flung their eggs forward in marked lanes or methodically pushed them to the finish line.

The president had to delay the start of the second heat after a little girl flung her egg forward before the whistle.

The event had an education, or “EGGucation,” theme, with a doorway resembling a red schoolhouse on one part of the lawn, and actress Kristin Chenoweth reading to a group of children in another section. There was a physical education component, too, with basketballs and hoops, and some soccer balls and DC United signs.

Monday’s revival had its challenges. It was chilly and there was a long line for COVID-19 testing outside the White House, though a military band livened up the spirit with marches while two large Easter bunnies stood in full costume next to the first couple.

Mrs. Biden, a professor at Northern Virginia Community College, said visitors should enjoy the makeshift school on the South Lawn because “education never stops.”

“Welcome to your house, the people’s house,” Mrs. Biden said.

The Easter Egg Roll tradition dates back to the 1870s when President Rutherford B. Hayes invited families to the White House because Congress prohibited the practice on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers said it took too much of a toll on the grounds, according to the National Park Service.

Mr. Biden welcomed families back to the White House as he tries to pivot the country back to normal life and manage COVID-19 as a disease in the background, citing the availability of vaccines and treatments.

“We were not able to host this Easter egg roll last year because of the pandemic,” he said. “But this year, we’re finally getting back together again.”

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