01/10/2013 05:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Double Rarity of Obama's 2013 Sunday Second Inauguration


Obama's will only be the fifth of second-term presidential inaugurations taking place on a Sunday (1957, shown above).

The two ceremonies marking the second inauguration day of President Barack Obama are to be held on Sunday, January 20, and Monday, January 21, 2013 -- it is only the seventh time in American history that the event will take place on a Sunday.

The previous times were those of James Monroe on March 4, 1821; Zachary Taylor on March 4, 1849; Rutherford B. Hayes on March 4, 1877; Woodrow Wilson on March 4, 1917; Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 20, 1957; and Ronald Reagan on January 20, 1985.

Of these previous events, however, those of Monroe, Wilson, Eisenhower and Reagan were also, like that of Obama, for their second-term inaugurations.

Second inaugurations have not been generally noteworthy. Sunday inaugurations, on the other hand, have led to some curiosities of historical precedence, perhaps because they are so unusual.

Not until January 20, 2041 will there be another Sunday inauguration.


Outgoing President Grant, seated, watches his successor, Rutherford Hayes, be sworn-in as president on Monday, March 5, 1877 -- even though Hayes had been inaugurated in a secret ceremony even before his presidency technically began on the Sunday before the public ceremony.

The oddities associated with the Sunday inaugurations largely stem from the separation of church and state. It's resolution has been a matter of honoring cultural tradition while upholding the constitutional mandate. From obscure one-day presidents to ceremonies held in strange places to suffragists and celebrities to kidnapping threats from those in the party that lost, Sunday inaugurations have been colorful and curious.

To read about all six of them and see many previously unpublished historical photographs, go to: