New Leader Celebrations Around the World

By Tracy Schorn

December 30, 2016

Kennedy Inauguration

United States: In old inauguration photos you'll notice that the president-elect is wearing a top hat. The tradition dates back to at least James Garfield's inauguration in 1881 and endured until 1961, when John F. Kennedy was the last to don a top hat.

United States: In 1973, during Richard Nixon's Inauguration Day parade, he feared pigeons would ruin his celebration, so he had a chemical repellent sprayed all along the parade route. The streets were strewn with dozens of dead pigeons.

France: In France, there is no oath of office. Instead there are a variety of civil and military ceremonies. In one, the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour pins the president with the Grand Cross and presents him with the Grand Collar of the Legion of Honour, intoning: "Mr. President of the Republic, we recognize you as the Grand Master of the National Order of the Legion of Honour." 

Lord ShivaIndia: In 2014, Narendra Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party to power as India's prime minister. BJP celebrants paraded holding a shivling, a symbolic representation of Hindu God Shiva.

South Africa: A 5-rand coin, commemorating the presidential inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994—the first democratic election in South Africa's history—is now the one of the fastest appreciating rare coins in history.

England: "Zadok the Priest," composed by George Frideric Handel for the coronation of King George II, has been sung during the coronation of every British monarch since its composition in 1727. 

Rolls Royce Emblem Ireland: The President-elect is escorted to the inauguration in a 1947 Rolls-Royce, accompanied by a squadron of motorcycles, where he/she is sworn in at Dublin Castle.

Brazil: In Brazil since 1910, the transfer of power is symbolized by the presidential sash, which the former president hands to the new holder of the office. The ceremony is considered part of the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next, "in accordance with the will of the people and the constitutional order."

Taiwan: Other countries swear oaths of office on Bibles or constitutions. In Taiwan, the president-elect reads the oath while giving a full-arm salute to a giant portrait of Sun Yet-San, the first President of the Republic of China.

Greece: The Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church administers the oath, while the prime minister-elect repeats the oath while placing one hand on the Bible. Inaugurations occur at the presidential palace in Athens.