Over the next 24 hours Barack Obama will place his hand on three Bibles to swear two oaths before God to faithfully execute the Office of President of these ostensibly secular United States, becoming only the second president to take the oath four times.
On Sunday in Washington, Mr Obama will swear the oath on Michelle Obama's family Bible in a private White House ceremony to abide by the constitutional decree that the oath must be taken on January 20.
But it is Monday's celebration - held over because by tradition the inauguration is never held on a Sunday - that Washington has finally begun building some excitement about.
Setting the tone ... Barack Obama will swear the oath in a private ceremony on Sunday before Monday's celebration. Photo: Getty Images
According to the George Washington University political science professor Michael Cornfield, the lead-up to this year's inauguration has been less celebratory than the last, not only because the inauguration of America's first black president was such an historic moment, but because this year's proceedings are being held after the murders of schoolchildren in Sandy Hook.
He describes inaugurations as part quasi-religious ritual, part celebrity gala and part political management opportunity.
He expects the President to attempt to set the tone of his second term - and his legacy - with his speech, before filling in the policy details with the State of the Union address to be held next month.
On Monday in Washington, the Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Roberts - the man who famously fluffed his lines four years ago, prompting the President to retake the oath the following day - will again recite the President's Oath. Mr Obama has chosen to make the oath on two Bibles, one that belonged to Abraham Lincoln, another that belonged to Martin Luther King jnr.
''President Obama is honoured to use these Bibles at the swearing-in ceremonies,'' said Steve Kerrigan, the chief executive of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. ''On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we've made as a nation.''
Up to 800,000 people are expected to watch the ceremony on the west terrace of the Capitol building, less than half the number who gathered on the National Mall four years ago in what was the largest crowd that has ever congregated in Washington.
Afterwards they will line Pennsylvania Avenue to watch the first family lead a parade of thousands as the President returns to the White House, before attending two official balls on Monday night. Up to 35,000 are expected to attend one, and 4000 the other, held in honour of American troops.
Among those performing or attending the balls are the actor Jamie Foxx and the singer Jennifer Hudson as well as Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Chris Cornell and his band Soundgarden and Marc Anthony, members of the Glee cast, John Legend, Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, Usher and Stevie Wonder.
During the more formal inauguration proceedings the US Marine Band will perform, along with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce.
Four years ago, 10 balls were held. With fewer official tickets available, Washington is making its own fun this year, with unofficial balls being held across the city.