When and What Is Inauguration Day 2017?

January 17, 2017
Inauguration Day 2017

What happens on Inauguration Day 2017? What does “inauguration” mean? How do we “swear in” a president? Here are some inauguration fun facts.

When is Inauguration Day 2017?

Friday, January 20 is Inauguration Day 2017. It will mark the 58th Presidential Inauguration in American history, a tradition begun in on April 30, 1789 by George Washington, the first U.S. president.

What number president is Donald Trump?

Donald Trump will be the 45th U.S. president.

What does “inauguration” mean?

The word “inauguration” means “beginning,” and comes from the ancient practice of augury, which means predicting the future. The day marks the start of a president’s term in office.

Where does Inauguration Day take place?

The Presidential Inauguration takes place in Washington, D.C.

It has been conducted there since 1801, when Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated. The first Inauguration Day took place in New York City, which was serving as the U.S. capital in 1789. The inaugurals of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (the second time) happened in Philadelphia.

What happens on Inauguration Day?

The most important event on Inauguration Day, and the only event required by the U.S. Constitution, is the swearing in of the new president at noon. With a recitation of the Oath of Office, the president-elect becomes the president and commander in chief.

What is the Oath of Office?

The exact words of the oath of office are: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Who administers the Oath of Office?

The Oath of Office is usually administered by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. (It has been the practice since 1797.) Calvin Coolidge’s second Oath was administered by the only Chief Justice who was a former President, William Howard Taft.

Has a woman ever administered the Oath of Office?

The only woman to administer the Oath was Federal District Court Judge Sarah T. Hughes. She was the closest Federal judge to the site of the swearing in of Lyndon B. Johnson—Air Force One, which was parked at Love Field—after Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.

Can a family member administer the Oath of Office?

Yes, under unusual circumstances. After the death of President Warren G. Harding, the oath was administered by the light of a kerosene lantern to Calvin Coolidge by his father, John Calvin Coolidge, Sr., a notary public in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.

Has the Oath of Office ever changed?

So far, all presidents except Franklin Pierce have chosen to “swear” rather than “affirm.” At Barack Obama’s first Inauguration Day, in 2009, Chief Justice John Roberts stumbled over the wording, and the two men decided to do it over the next day in the White House.

What book do presidents put their hand on for the Oath of Office?

Presidents usually take the Oath of Office with their left hand on a Bible, but that is not required by the Constitution. Franklin Pierce and John Quincy Adams swore their oaths on law books. Lyndon Johnson used a Catholic missal found on the airplane in Dallas. Theodore Roosevelt used no book at all. And Dwight D. Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, and Barack Obama used more than one Bible.

What is the Inaugural Address?

The Inaugural Address is a speech by the recently inaugurated president. In earlier days, the address was given before the newly elected president took the Oath of Office, but in 1897, William McKinley waited until after he was sworn in to deliver his speech, and all the presidents since then have done the same.

What are the shortest and longest Presidential Inaugural Addresses?

George Washington’s second inaugural address was 135 words long, by far the shortest in history. (Despite his reputation for taciturnity, “Silent Cal” Coolidge gave a speech of more than 4,000 words in 1925.)

The longest Inaugural Address was more than 8,000 words long and given by William Henry Harrison in 1841. Harrison delivered it in an hour and 45 minutes outdoors in freezing weather. (Afterward, Harrison shook hands with admirers for three hours. He caught a cold, which became pneumonia, and then, a month after the ceremony, he died.)

What are some famous lines from Inauguration Day Addresses?

• Abraham Lincoln’s address called for “charity for all” and “malice towards none” when the Civil War ended.

• Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

• John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

What else happens on Inauguration Day?

After the oath and the address comes the celebrating: The newly inaugurated president reviews a parade and attends a lot of parties.

Credit: defenseimagery.mil

How can citizens celebrate Presidential Inauguration Day 2017?

The U.S. flag can be flown on all days, but it should be flown on Inauguration Day. Learn more about how to display the U.S. flag.


How have Presidential Inauguration Day events changed over the years?

The way we celebrate the beginning of a new Presidency has grown in size, pomp, and expense.

  • George Washington was invited to a ball a week after his 1789 inauguration.
  • The first official Inaugural Ball took place in 1809 at Long’s Hotel in Washington, after the first inauguration of James Madison. First Lady Dolley Madison was the hostess, and tickets cost $4.
  • Since then, the number of balls has multiplied, with one exception: Woodrow Wilson did not like to dance, so his inauguration had no ball.


Has Presidential Inauguration Day always been on January 20?

The Constitution originally fixed March 4 (the anniversary of the effective date of the Constitution in 1789) as Inauguration Day. That’s about four months after the presidential election (which occurs on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November).

When did January 20 become Presidential Inauguration Day?

Inauguration Day was moved to January 20, with the Oath of Office to be administered at noon, when Congress ratified the 20th constitutional amendment in 1933. Reasons cited included the unpredictability of March weather, improved roads, and the desire to reduce the time that the previous president remains in office as a “lame duck.”

The first president to be inaugurated on January 20 was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, when he took office for the second of his four terms.

On six occasions, the death or resignation of a president required his successor to be sworn in immediately, so the oaths were taken as quickly as possible. Presidents William Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, and Gerald Ford had no formal Inauguration Days.

What happens if Inauguration Day is on a Sunday?

In years when Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the new president is sworn in at a private ceremony on January 20, and the public ceremony is postponed to January 21.

Who pays for the Inauguration Day events?

Taxpayers pay only for the swearing-in ceremony. The cost of all that follows it is borne by private donors.

Has there been any unusual weather on Inauguration Day?

Bad weather has not only disrupted several inaugurations, it was responsible for the deaths of one President and one First Lady.

  • Bad weather and bad roads delayed Washington’s first inauguration until April 30, 1789.
  • In 1841, Harrison gave the longest inaugural speech in history (1 hour, 45 minutes) outdoors in freezing weather, developed pneumonia, and died one month later.
  • In 1853, at the snowy inauguration of President Pierce, outgoing First Lady Abigail Fillmore also caught a cold that led to pneumonia and death a few weeks later.
  • Probably the worst weather occurred during the 1909 inauguration of President Taft. Powerful winds and a 10-inch snowfall forced the ceremony indoors and thousands of workers shoveled 58,000 tons of snow off the parade route. The Old Farmer’s Almanac had predicted “Strenuous winds and perhaps snow.”

What is the weather for Presidential Inauguration Day 2017?

Check the weather for Washington, D.C., or any U.S. city!  See 7-day weather if the day is near or see long range weather.

Inauguration Day Recipes

Having an Inauguration Day party? Add one or two of these Presidential treats to your menu!

President George Washington’s Eggnog

President Warren G. Harding’s Limburger Cheese Spread

Onion Sandwich, a favorite of President Calvin Coolidge

• A salad with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Green Goddess Dressing

Peanut Butter Cookies (President James A. Garfield spoke enthusiastically about peanut butter)

• President Coolidge’s Lemon Custard Pie

What fun fact above did you find most interesting?  Did you learn anything new today? We welcome your comments below.



Reader Comments

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most interesting fact and today's ceremony

fact: the length of Harrison's address-given the weather conditions-his apparent self importance led to his downfall plus the hand shoveling 10" of snow for a parade seems to me in retrospect to be fool hardy. Wonder how many turned out for it and ended up with health problems or worse. Hmmm!

regarding today's ceremonies: God, INDEED, is in total charge. HE uses mortal people, of all sorts, to accomplish HIS agenda. From the very beginning, HE often brought "out of the norm" folks to perform tasks....and it served HIS purpose. Who can know the mind of the creator of everything? We are charged, in the Bible, to pray for all of our leaders--and I join in covering prayer for wisdom, health, and strength for president elect Trump, vice president elect Pence.

I Concur

I agree with your commentary. We are in such a blessed and unique time.

God is in complete control. I could feel the Holy Spirit while watching a brief snippet of the inauguration in the break room at work.

We should always cover our leaders in prayer! I am learning to become more disciplined to do so.

Blessings to you Trudy.

First Offical Inaugural Ball

$4 to attend the 1809 Inaugural Ball? We may think of that as cheap today, but man was that expensive then. By mid century that would be a weeks pay for some, and a month's for others. Be about like making $400 a week now. 1809 it was probably closer to making $800 to $1000 a week now.

I've never watched any of the

I've never watched any of the previous inaugural events, but I will definitely be watching this one and praying that it goes well for Donald J. Trump. I believe God has chosen this man to bring America back to the greatness it was known for and stop this trend of self serving that has led our country to the brink of disaster and chaos. Without God we are a lost nation and without Israel as our ally, we are a doomed nation. Paying our enemies huge sums of money and giving our resource rights to other foreign countries as has happened under Hillary and Obama is definitely the wrong road to take if we want to remain a strong country. May God bless America and Israel and Donald J. Trump and his cabinet to run our county on the narrow road to success. Thank you for much interesting information. I may pass this on to others who are not in the know.

Just want to say, thank you and I agree.

Well said, and we are praying as well for our New President Trump, his family, cabinet and Israel. May God give favor, protection and guided wisdom to lift this country up from the ashes. It's going to be tough, but we as a people of the united states can do it. Under God, anything is possible with Him.

Couldn't agree more

I completely agree... I believe that trump was put here by God, just like the judges in old Israel. I Pray that many of the out of the norm things that are going on currently can be turned back, so the country can prosper once again

Whom the Gods would destroy,

Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.

Reply re trumps inaugural

It scares me that you, and the individuals who replied to you, believe Trump, a self serving man who produces his own goods/sends money to foreign countries and who treats people so disparagingly could actually lead us honorably. You said "without god we're a lost nation" yet you believe a godless, sociopath will make our nation great again. Very scary!! Very, very scary

You should have capitalized

You should have capitalized God. They're going to write you off as an atheist and not listen. I agree, Trump is not a saviour, and it boggles my mind that religious people put their faith and hope in him.

How Many Presidents?

I think that it is important to note that while Donald Trump will serve in the 45th presidency, he will be only the 44th president. A "presidency" is the period of time between when an individual person is sworn into office and when that individual leaves office. Grover Cleveland served two terms, but they were not consecutive; therefore he served during two separate presidencies. If his two terms had been consecutive, then that would count as only one presidency. We are on the verge of the 45th presidency, but Trump will be only the 44th president.

44 or 45...?

The Editors's picture

You make an interesting and, to some ways of thinking (counting!), accurate point, and we appreciate your bringing it (back) to our attention, as we considered the matter as you describe it. However, the numerous web sites, including .gov’s, that we used to compile and check this information list Barack Obama as the 44th president and Donald Trump as the 45th president, so we went with it. Thank you for this clarification.

Inauguration Day Facts

Thank-you for sharing these facts. And the recipes!! Although I will not be watching this year's event and am very concerned about our "State of the Union" it is often helpful to look back at the challenges that have gone before. I think that can give us hope that this is a strong, resourceful country and if we can learn to stand together we can solve our problems.