It is held on January 20 of the year following a presidential election. Although the day is not a public holiday, many U.S. citizens attend the ceremony and accompanying festivities or, since 1949, watch the events on television.

After the worship services, the president-elect and vice president-elect—as well as the current president and vice president, family members, and various public officials—proceed to the U.S. Capitol for the swearing-in ceremonies. The vice president-elect is sworn in first, often by an official of his choosing, and then the president-elect is sworn in, typically by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. After taking the oath of office, the new president gives an inaugural address, during which he usually expresses his goals for the country. An inaugural luncheon and a parade follow. That evening the president typically attends various inaugural balls.

With the pandemic raging across the country this year’s pandemic has taken different role.

The U.S. Constitution originally directed that a president be inaugurated on March 4 of the year following a presidential election. This date was used from 1793 to 1933. However, the four months when a defeated president would continue to serve until the president-elect was sworn in was often a time of political inaction, which sometimes led to problems. With the ratification (1933) of the Twentieth Amendment, the inauguration was moved to January 20, thus reducing the length of time to transition presidential administrations. If January 20 falls on a Sunday, the president is inaugurated that day in a small ceremony, with a public inauguration and the subsequent festivities being held the next day.

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