LONDON — The arrival of a new American president triggered joy and jubilation Tuesday in a world made weary by warfare, recession and fear. Bulls and goats were slaughtered for feasts in Kenya, toasts were offered at black-tie balls in Europe and shamans in Latin America chanted Barack Obama's name with reverence.
From Kenya and Indonesia, where Barack Obama has family ties, to Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, Obama's inauguration sparked a volcanic explosion of hope for better days ahead.
The ascendance of the first African-American to the presidency of the United States was heralded as marking a new era of tolerance and possibility.
Foreigners react as they watch Barack Obama speaking during his inauguration ceremony as the 44th U. S. President on a large video screen at a cafe in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.
Obama supporters at the South Pole, Antarctica, "celebrating our new President with hope and optimism."
A small group of ex-pats gathered at an Inauguration party in Montisi, Italy. While watching what they considered, "the most important broadcast of their adult lives," friends were joyous,and most shed tears for what this means about America. "It is meaningful to know that gatherings like ours went on all over the world and as isolated as we may be here in rural Tuscany, we all felt part of something big and exciting."
Americans sharing the inauguaration at Coconuts in Vieques, PR.
Students gather at the Amphitheatre Boutmy at Sciences Po - Paris in Amphitheatre Boutmy. The school hosted an enormous "election night" (6am Paris time) party and continued the tradition with the "Investiture de Barack Obama". Sciences Po is France's premier school of Political Science and students here are wild about Barack.
Students gathered at the Amphitheatre Boutmy at Sciences Po - Paris in Amphitheatre Boutmy. The giant screen had realtime streaming of the Inauguration. A Sciences Po student studying abroad in D.C. provided some live commentary.
Kenyans jump for joy as they see US President Barack Obama appear on a large screen as thousands of people gathered to watch the Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.
Kenyans celebrate after the inauguration ceremony of US President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009 in Kisumu. Excitement continues to mount in Kisumu, the headquarter of Kenya's Western province, for the 'Son of Kenya,' a term increasingly used to refer to Obama due to his Kenyan father.
American ex-pats and British citizens come together in an American restaurant, The Texas Embassy, to watch the inauguration of President Obama in Washington DC on January 20, 2009 in London, England.
Demonstrators stage a rally outside the US embassy in Manila on January 20, 2009, accusing the US of imperialism and calling for a change in America's war policy hours before the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.
A Palestinian man walks past TV screens showing a live broadcast of U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony in Washington D.C., at an electronics shop in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.
US Army Staff Sgt. Beverlee Burton of Cleveland, Ohio cries while sitting next to Capt. Adhana McCarthy (R) as they watch Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2009 in the dining hall of Forward Operating Base Kalsu, south of Baghdad in Iraq. Obama is the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the U.S.
Indonesian children from the school which U.S. President Barack Obama attended while living in Indonesia, dance during an inaugural party for Obama Tuesday Jan. 20, 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
'Obama Girls' dance the hula to celebrate the inauguration of US President-elect Barack Obama at Hagaji Temple on January 20, 2009 in Obama, Fukui, Japan.
This picture taken on January 20, 2009 shows front pages of newspapers with pictures of US president-elect Barak Obama.
Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who also inspired millions, sent a letter to Obama shortly before his inauguration.
"Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done," Mandela wrote. "Amongst many around the world a sense of hopelessness had set in as so many problems remain unresolved and seemingly incapable of being resolved. You, Mister President, have brought a new voice of hope that these problems can be addressed and that we can in fact change the world and make of it a better place."
The anti-apartheid icon's sentiment was echoed in much of the world.
Alex Andrade, a 24-year-old unemployed black Brazilian, said Obama's rise has inspired Brazil's poor.
"Blacks face so much discrimination here," he said, standing outside the Cantagalo slum, where ramshackle shacks line steep hills in Rio de Janeiro. "Now with a black man in charge of such an important country, it might help decrease the racism in Brazil."
It was a reflection of Obama's sprawling, complex family tree that villages in places as diverse as Ireland and Kenya held special parties to celebrate their link to the new president.
In Kenya, traditional dancers performed, feasts were held and movie screens were erected so neighbors could join together for the moment, only a year after their own elections were marred by horrific ethnic violence.
"Our election in Kenya really had problems with ethnicity ... America has shown that this doesn't have to be that big a problem," said Dr. Joseph Osoo, who runs a clinic in one of Kenya's biggest slums and last year at this time was stitching up people wounded in election riots.
"Kenyans are very happy because their son is going to be the leader of America," he said.
In the village of Kogelo in western Kenya, where many of Obama's Kenyan relatives live, women dressed in colorful printed cloths performed traditional dances to the rhythms of cowhide drums.
At the biggest hospital in nearby Kisumu, Christine Aoko named her newborn daughter Michelle, after Obama's wife.
"I hope my girl will grow as tough as Michelle," Aoko told The Associated Press.
An Irish village called Moneygall covered itself in red, white and blue bunting Tuesday in honor of Obama's connections, via a great-great-great grandfather named Fulmouth Kearney who emigrated to the United States in 1850.
They also baked a special round fruitcake, locally called a "brack," to sell for the occasion _ with Obama's picture on the wrapping.
In the South American country of Guyana, dozens of work sites closed at noon to let employees watch the inauguration.
"As far as I am concerned, today is a holiday," said Patrick Hazelwood, an insurance agent in Georgetown. "I have also told my staff they are free to do what they want and take in the ceremony. Today is a serious day for everybody, a historic day."
There was also jubilation in the often-violent Colombian town of Puerto Tejada, where sugarcane-cutting descendants of African slaves had the day off to celebrate and watched the Washington proceedings on a giant screen.
"The people here see themselves represented in Obama," Mayor Elver Montano told the AP.
In Peru's capital of Lima, a dozen faith healers from Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Bolivia danced during the inauguration. Stomping their feet, shaking rattles and blowing smoke, they chanted Obama's name while throwing flower petals and coca leaves at his photograph.
The ancient Andean ritual is known as Jatun Sonjo, or 'Big Heart' in the Quechua language, explained shaman Juan Osco.
"In ancient times, it was one of the rituals dedicated to Inca and pre-Inca rulers," Osco said. " Today we dedicate it from Peru to Obama, because he is the first black president and his heart is big for the whole world."
In Sweden, African-American singer Cyndee Peters was hosting a show named "A Gala for Obama," featuring dozens of Swedish soul, jazz, hip-hop, gospel, folk and blues artists.
"Obama fever is all over the whole world, " said Peters, 62, who grew up in North Carolina and New York. "What he stands for needs to be celebrated."
In London, Americans could get free admission to Madame Tussaud's waxworks to see the new figure of Obama, and parties were scheduled in dozens of venues, from ritzy hotels to local sports bars.
Louise Darko from Atlanta, standing on line to be photographed with the Obama waxwork, was thrilled with Obama's inauguration because of the difficulties her great-grandfather faced when he was one of the first blacks to attend university in the American south.
"Now when I tell my children you can grow up to be anything, I really mean it," said Darko, 44. "
In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, where Obama spent four years as a young boy, students from his former school swayed and spun in bright, traditional costumes representing Indonesia's ethnically diverse tropical islands.
Old classmates gathered at the Menteng 1 elementary school to watch a speech on television by the once-chubby kid they remember as Barry.
"I'm proud that the next president is someone who I have shared time with," said Rully Dasaad, a fellow Boy Scout with Obama. "It was a crucial time for children our age, it is when we learned tolerance, sharing, pluralism, acceptance and respect of difference in cultures and religions."
AP writers Min Lee in Hong Kong, Anthony Deutsch and Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta, Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin, Dean Carson in London, Bert Wilkinson in Guyana, Vivian Sequera in Colombia, Bradley Brooks in Brazil and Andrew Whalen in Peru.