It has been arguably the most tumultuous political landscape America has faced since 1968, with many hoping for calm once President-elect Joe Biden officially takes office.
Biden’s inauguration will mark the official beginning of his four-year term and due to COVID-19 and security concerns, he will go ahead without much of the pomp and fanfare that usually takes place on such occasions.
If you’re interested in moving ahead in Australia, here’s what we know about Biden’s inauguration:
What day and time will be the inauguration of Joe Biden?
As part of the presidential tradition of the United States, the presidential inauguration takes place at noon Eastern time on January 20. This has been the case since 1937.
Here in Australia, that means it will take place on January 21 at 4am AEDT for the East Coast states (Sydney and Melbourne). Because daylight saving time is not recognized, it will be around 3am in Brisbane.
There are standard activities leading up to the opening, which can start happening around 1.30am AEDT.
Interestingly, since 1937 there have been three occasions in which the inauguration has not occurred on January 20: they were because the dates fell on Sunday.
On those occasions, the ceremony was held in private before public activities on the following January 21.
Where can I see the opening in Australia?
There will also be a live blog covering the latest events and explaining the significance of traditional ceremonies and activities.
Where is it and what does it entail?
The inauguration will take place on the western front of the United States Capitol Building, the same building that was infamously the scene of the riots nearly two weeks ago.
It is the facade of the building that faces the National Mall.
The ceremony itself is quite traditional, although in light of recent events we can expect to see some, or multiple, changes.
Traditionally, the ceremony involves Biden taking the oath of office. Most presidents place their hand on a Bible when taking the oath, however there is no requirement in the United States constitution.
Biden has confirmed that he will take the oath on a family Bible that has been handed down since 1893.
A marine band will then play some tunes while a 21-gun salute is performed.
After this, Biden is likely to deliver his inaugural address, the speech in which a new president lays out his vision for America and his hopes for the future.
Will Donald Trump be there?
Traditionally, the outgoing president, and surviving former presidents, will be present. But Donald Trump has already confirmed in a tweet that he will not attend.
Vice President Mike Pence will be there, as will former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Are you expecting riots and protests?
The threat of riots from extremist groups during Biden’s inauguration is high, and parts of the Capitol have already been fenced off and bricked up.
There will be massive security coverage, including the National Guard.
What changes will there be for the inauguration of Joe Biden?
There are so many factors why Biden’s inauguration will look different.
First, there are the recent riots in the US Capitol by Trump supporters who broke into the very building in which Biden will be sworn in.
Second, and perhaps most importantly, is the ubiquitous COVID-19 threat.
Biden won the presidency with a platform to take the virus seriously and as such there will not be the overwhelming mass of crowds that are traditionally there.
Instead, the live audience for the event has been restricted to members of Congress and one guest each. Everyone present must wear a mask.
This will limit the total number of guests to about 3,000 people. Typically there can be up to 200,000.