While much of the world celebrated the arrival of the new American president on Tuesday, some regions saw angry protests.
In Iran, protesters burnt posters of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and waved flags in support of Gaza, Reuters reported.
"Where are the freedom seekers?" one poster read that had the word "Gaza" on it and a picture of a weeping Palestinian, Reuters reported. Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and chanted "Death to Obama," outside the Swiss embassy, and Reuters said it obtained pictures of Obama's image laid on the road for cars to drive over.
In the rest of the world, 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.
From Kenya and Indonesia, where Barack Obama has family ties, to areas around the world, Obama represented a volcanic explosion of hope for better days ahead.
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. Road signs read "Moneygall welcomes our President, Barack Obama."
They also baked a special round fruitcake, locally called a "brack," to sell for the occasion -- and put pictures of Obama on the wrapping.
In Kenya, feasts were being prepared, beer with Obama's name on it put out and movie screens erected so neighbors could join together for the moment, a year after their own elections were marred by 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.
"Kenyan are very happy because their son is going to be the leader of America," he said.
Obama's themes were echoed throughout the world. At the United Nations complex overlooking the Danube River in Vienna, Austria, someone wrote "YES, WE CAN!" in giant block letters in the snow.
U.N. workers peered down at the message from their office windows.
"It's a mystery who did it," said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It was a day when America's rich musical heritage, often reflecting the freedom struggle of African-Americans, was embraced worldwide.
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. "I was congratulated by I don't know how many Swedes after the election. I think what he stands for needs to be celebrated."
"No one is doing their favorite songs or greatest hits," Peters added. "We're doing songs about hope."
In London, Americans could get free admission to Madame Tussaud's waxworks to see the new figure of Obama, and Queen Elizabeth II sent the new president a personal message of support. Parties were scheduled in dozens of venues, from ritzy hotels to local sports bars.
Louise Darko from Atlanta was standing on line to be photographed with the Obama waxwork. She 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 to watch his speech at the Menteng 1 elementary school, where he is fondly remembered as a chubby kid called 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."
In the Japanese town of Obama, hula dancers performed -- Obama was born in Hawaii, and hula is popular in Japan. Businesses pumped out Barack Obama sweet bean cakes, chopsticks, T-shirts, fish burgers, neck ties and noodles.
Many across the Middle East heralded the inauguration but expressed reservations about how much Obama will actually change U.S. policy in a region where anti-American sentiment spiked during George W. Bush's administration.
Those doubts have become more pronounced in recent weeks with the devastating Gaza offensive by U.S. ally Israel that killed over 1,250 Palestinians.
But Obama still retains a great deal of goodwill in the Middle East for having a Muslim father.
Saleh al-Mohaisen, who runs a jewelry store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, said he was "overjoyed" when Obama was elected.
"I felt that he could understand Arab suffering," he said.
Al-Mohaisen said Obama's failure to denounce Israel's Gaza offensive made him more wary of the new leader, but not enough to change his opinion.
"I love him despite his silence," he said. "I feel we share the same blood."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.