Behind Closed Doors: Historic and Unusual Rituals at the White House

The White House, the official residence of the President of the United States, is shrouded in history and tradition. Beyond the grandeur and pomp, there are historic rituals and unusual customs that offer unique insights into life within its walls. In this blog article, we delve into some of the most intriguing rituals that have taken place at the White House over the years.

  1. Inauguration Day Mysteries : Inauguration Day carries numerous traditions, but few are as mysterious as the "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Following the ceremony, the outgoing President and First Lady traditionally leave the White House by helicopter, flying over the city and taking one last look at the place that was their home.
  2. Presidential Morning Routine : The President's morning routine is a carefully choreographed ritual. The White House staff prepares a "presidential toothbrush" each morning, which the President uses and then discards to avoid the risk of DNA theft or analysis.
  3. The Presidential Bedroom Alcove : The President's Bedroom contains a cozy alcove, referred to as the "President's Alcove." It's a small sitting area where Presidents have contemplated decisions, penned letters, and found solace in moments of solitude.
  4. Christmas Tree Lighting Tradition : The White House Christmas tree lighting is a beloved annual event. President Calvin Coolidge started this tradition in 1923. What's unusual about it is that Coolidge lit only the tree, but subsequent Presidents have expanded the ceremony into the grand spectacle we know today.
  5. Whispering Gallery Gossip : The White House's "Whispering Gallery" is an oval room where sound behaves unusually due to its unique acoustics. Voices carry and reverberate, creating an unusual environment for private conversations.
  6. Annual Egg Roll on the Lawn : The White House Easter Egg Roll is a delightful, albeit unusual, tradition that dates back to 1878. It's a day when thousands of children gather on the South Lawn to roll colored eggs with spoons, engage in egg hunts, and enjoy a day of festivities.
  7. Presidential Bowling Alley : One of the lesser-known features of the White House is the Presidential Bowling Alley. It was built by President Richard Nixon and continues to be a unique recreational space for the First Family.
  8. Secret Service Code Names : Every President and their family members are assigned Secret Service code names. These names are unusual and often themed, such as "Renegade" for President Obama and "Lancer" for Jacqueline Kennedy.
  9. State Dining Room Redecorating : The State Dining Room is often redecorated by the First Lady to reflect her personal style and artistic preferences. This includes choosing new china patterns and artwork, contributing to the evolving ambiance of the White House.
  10. Superstitions and Ghost Stories : The White House has seen its share of ghost stories and superstitions. President Abraham Lincoln's ghost is said to haunt the place, and some Presidents have maintained superstitions about particular rooms, like the Lincoln Bedroom.

These historic and unusual rituals offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of White House life. Behind the veneer of formal ceremonies and political decisions, these customs and curiosities reveal the human aspects of the presidency. From quiet moments of contemplation in the President's Alcove to the joyful chaos of the Easter Egg Roll, the White House holds secrets and traditions that make it a place of wonder, mystery, and history.

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