Have You Ever Heard of the Easter Panda?

There’s an unusual way to celebrate Easter in the Washington, D.C. area.  The National Zoo hosts a major annual event on Easter Monday, which is an unofficial holiday celebrated by African Americans in D.C. since the 1890s.  This event is believed to have started because black housekeepers had to work on Easter Sunday, so they celebrated Easter with their families the next day.  According to the Smithsonian Institution, segregation has also played a role.  You may know about the White House Easter Egg Roll, a tradition which started in 1878.  But black families were prohibited from attending for generations.

All this has led to a unique cultural happening.  The event this year included an Easter egg hunt, field games, and a concert by a local children’s hip-hop- group. Since a zoo is hosting, there were also a series of educational booths, visits with the animals (of course) and their keepers.  Although the giant panda Bao Bao returned to China in February, visitors were able to pose for photos with the traditional Easter Panda: a zoo employee wearing a panda costume and bunny ears (strangely enough, I couldn’t find any pictures).

I wonder what they do in China?

Event details are at  https://nationalzoo.si.edu/events/easter-monday.  The illustration is from Dreamstime.com.

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