Learn about the history of presidential inaugurations. While today the inauguration ceremony for the US President is a huge event, it had humble beginnings. The inauguration process dates back to 1789 and it was first held for the first U.S. president, George Washington. That occurred on April 30th in New York City. Washington placed his right hand on a Bible and said the words written in the constitution. At the end he added his own personal touch, stating “So help me God”.