An inauguration is a formal ceremony or special event to mark either:
- the beginning of a major public leader's term of office.
- the opening or first public use of a new civic area, organisation or project. Such as a museum, hospital or film studio.
The term, in a less formal context, can also be used to be refer:
- to the beginning or introduction of a new system, policy, or period.
- the first, maiden or initial use of something. For example, a ship, railway or even computer service of some kind.
The historical source of the word “inauguration” stems from the Latin augur, which refers to the rituals of ancient Roman priests seeking to interpret if it was the will of the gods for a public official to be deemed worthy to assume office.
Political inaugurations often feature lavish ceremonies, in which the figure publicly takes his or her oath of office, sometimes called "swearing-in", often in front of a large crowd of spectators. A monarchical inauguration is similar to what some countries may be called a coronation or enthronement.
The "inaugural address" is a speech given during this ceremony which informs the people of his or her intentions as a leader. A famous inauguration speech is John F. Kennedy's.
Other than personal inaugurations, the term can also refer to the official opening or beginning of an institution or structure, for example the inauguration of a new Canada–United States border crossing.
An "inauguration site" is a ceremonial site that is for someone of a public figure.