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Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Monday

Yesterday, many people spent time with their families and friends hunting for Easter eggs, eating jelly beans or participating in any of the other hundreds of Easter traditions they hold dear. Until recently, I was unaware of an Easter Monday tradition that dates back to the late 19th century.

For many African Americans in the late 1800s Easter Sunday was a day of work, with Monday a day off. Consequently, Easter Monday became a day of celebration for African American communities in Washington, D.C. The National Zoological Park was open free of charge to visitors, as it is today, and became a perfect spot for families to celebrate the Easter holiday. Children participated in an Easter Egg Roll atop Lion/Tiger Hill, while adults picnicked nearby.

Each year the festivities grew and to this day Easter Monday is celebrated at the National Zoo.

For more information on Easter Monday, check out the National Museum of African American History and Culture's feature on the celebration.

*Pictured Left: Image of Easter Monday participants on Lion/Tiger Hill in the National Zoo, circa 1900, Smithsonian Institution Archives.
*Pictured Right: Children in the Easter Monday best in front of the Lion House Addition at the National Zoo, 1936, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

1 comment:

  1. I had always wondered what Easter Monday was all about... Thank you!