For those who don't know the schedule of holidays: the third Monday in January (that's today) is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. January 20, in years with number one more than a multiple of four (that's tomorrow), is Inauguration Day. The reason that federal employees

*in the DC area*get it off, if I understand correctly, is to keep the traffic down. (Not that it'll help tomorrow; from what I understand Washington will still be a mess.) As Ken Jennings points out, these days are consecutive if January 20 falls on a Sunday or a Tuesday.

Now, a presidential term is a whole number of weeks (208, to be exact) and five days long. (How do I know this? A common year is one day longer than a whole number of weeks; a leap year is two days longer than a whole number of weeks; thus a presidential term, consisting of three common years and a leap year, has five "extra" days.) So we can work backwards. The 2009 inauguration is on a Tuesday; the 2005 inauguration was on a Thursday. The 2001 inauguration was on a Saturday (which I could have told you anyway; I got in a car accident that day and remember the circumstances pretty well). 1997 was a Monday, 1993 was a Wednesday, 1989 was a Friday, and 1985 was a Sunday.

But Martin Luther King Day wasn't observed for the first time until 1986. So the answer is that

**Martin Luther King Day and the inauguration have never fallen on consecutive days**. The pattern of when they do is kind of complicated, because leap years are periodic with period 400. But the 2013 inauguration falls on a Sunday; 2037 and 2041 are a Tuesday and Sunday, respectively; and most of the time these come in pairs; a Tuesday inauguration is followed by a Sunday inauguration. (The end of a century could break this pattern.)

However,

**the answer to Ken Jennings' actual question is yes**, because of an obscure piece of trivia I just remembered: January 2, 2007 was a federal holiday, an official day of mourning for President Ford. (For some reason I remember checking my mail and being surprised there was none. This is strange, because there are lots of days where mail is delivered and I don't get any.) January 1, 2007, was of course New Year's Day. And December 31, 2006 was a Sunday, so there was actually no mail for three days.

## 1 comment:

Whoaaaaaaaa... COOL! :)

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