President Barack Obama and wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, wave at spectators along the Innaugural Parade 2009. (Preston Keres/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Amaze your parents, siblings and friends with these facts about the history of swearing in presidents.

A really big word: “Inauguration,” pronounced in-aw-gyu-RAY-shun, is a five-syllable word, and we don’t usually use five-syllable words in KidsPost. It comes from Latin and means “to be installed under good omens or signs.” We think that’s pretty cool.

Inauguration Day: Many people think January 20 is always Inauguration Day, but that’s not true. George Washington gave his first inaugural address on April 30, 1789. Presidents were then sworn in on March 4 until 1937, when the date was changed to January 20. When January 20 falls on a Sunday, as it does this year, the president is sworn in privately on Sunday but the public ceremonies take place on January 21.

A great day for a parade: One of the highlights of the ceremonies is a parade for the president from the Capitol, where he is sworn in, to the White House. There’s been a parade for every inauguration since Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration on March 4, 1805, except in 1985, when it was so cold and windy that the parade was canceled.

Coldest Inauguration Day: On January 21, 1985, it was 7 degrees at noon in Washington, which made it the coldest Inauguration Day ever. The forecast for Monday is for the temperature to reach 39 degrees.

Not all presidents were born in the United States: Martin Van Buren, our eighth president, was the first president to be born a United States citizen. (The first seven presidents were born before the American Revolution, so they were British subjects at first.)


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