Skip to main content

1 of 33

A man lights a candle during a Christmas mass in the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky cathedral in central Sofia on December 25, 2011. Bulgaria, unlike some other fellow Orthodox countries, celebrates Christmas on December 25.


2 of 33

A boy carries a tricycle he received during an annual gift-giving event organised by firefighters in Ciudad Juarez December 24, 2011. The firefighters from Ciudad Juarez collect donated toys throughout the year for Christmas and hand them out to poor children on Christmas eve. Picture taken December 24, 2011.

Jose Luis Gonzalez /REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez /REUTERS

3 of 33

Pakistani Christians women pray around illuminated display of nativity scenes specially set up during Christmas celebrations at a Christian neighborhood in Islamabad on December 25, 2011. There is a tiny Christian minority in Pakistan, where only three percent of the population of 167 million are estimated to be non-Muslim. Christians in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world celebrate Christmas.


4 of 33

Father Frost, the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus, greets people during a parade in central St. Petersburg, December 25, 2011. Russians traditionally celebrate the coming of the New Year on December 31 and Orthodox Christmas on January 7.


Story continues below advertisement

5 of 33

People dressd as Santa Claus take part in the traditional Christmas race in downtown Belgrade on December 25, 2011.


6 of 33

Syrian Christians attend Christmas Day mass at the Saint George Monastery in Mishtaya, some 50 km from Homs, on December 25, 2011. Escaping a city wracked by incessant violence, Syrian Christians from Homs flock to a nearby monastery to celebrate Christmas away from a place that has "lost its senses."


7 of 33

A competitor in fancy dress looks on prior the 102nd Barcelona Traditional Christmas Swimming Cup at the Old Harbour of Barcelona on December 25, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. The Copa Nadal is organised by the Barcelona Swimming Club. It was launched in 1908 and has only been suspended three times, in 1936, 1937, and 1938, because of the Spanish Civil War. The Christmas Cup involves swimming across some 200 metres of open water in Barcelona harbour.

David Ramos/Getty Images/David Ramos/Getty Images

8 of 33

Christian worshippers light candles following Christmas day Mass at the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. Hundreds of Christian faithful, defying lashing rains and wind, celebrated Christmas Mass at Jesus' traditional birthplace on Sunday, spirits high despite the gloomy weather.

Majdi Mohammed/AP/Majdi Mohammed/AP

9 of 33

A child lights candle during the traditional Christmas mass at the golden domed Alexander Nevsky cathedral in downtown Sofia, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011.

Valentina Petrova/AP/Valentina Petrova/AP

10 of 33

US soldiers take part in a Christmas parade at the US Transit Center of Manas' airport in the outskirts of Bishkek on December 25, 2011. The United States and Kyrgyzstan have signed a deal in June 2009 to create a centre for the transit of non-lethal goods to Afghanistan through the Central Asian country's Manas airbase.


11 of 33

A boy dressed in a Santa Claus costume rides on a merry-go-round outside a church during Christmas celebrations in Jammu December 25, 2011.


12 of 33

Elderly women offer Christmas prayers at St. James Church in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. Christmas is a national holiday in India, marked by millions of all religions and faiths.

Mustafa Quraishi/AP/Mustafa Quraishi/AP

13 of 33

Indians light candles and pray at the illuminated Sacred Heart's Cathedral on Christmas Day, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011. Christmas is a national holiday in India, marked by millions of all religions and faiths.

Manish Swarup/AP/Manish Swarup/AP

14 of 33

Iraqi security forces stand guard as worshippers entering a church in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 340 miles (550 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011.

Nabil al-Jurani/AP/Nabil al-Jurani/AP

15 of 33

Iraqi Christians attend a Christmas mass at St. Joseph's Chaldean church in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011.

Hadi Mizban/AP/Hadi Mizban/AP

16 of 33

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge accepts flowers from members of the crowd as she leaves Sandringham Church after the traditional Christmas Day service at Sandringham on December 25, 2011 in King's Lynn, England. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh traditionally lead the royals in attending a church service at Sandringham Church on Christmas Day. It is the Duchess of Cambridge's first Christmas at Sandringham after her marriage to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in April of this year. This year the Duke of Edinburgh mised the service as he is in Papworth Hospital after having cardiac surgery to fit a stent in his coronary artery.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images/Chris Jackson/Getty Images

17 of 33

Britain soldiers with the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) take their lunch meal on the Christmas day at the ISAF's head quarter in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011.

Musadeq Sadeq/AP/Musadeq Sadeq/AP

18 of 33

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his traditional Christmas "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on December 25, 2011. Pope Benedict XVI prayed for famine, flood and conflict victims around the world following a deadly bomb blast outside a church in Nigeria.


19 of 33

Members of Berlin's swimming club "Berliner Seehunde" (Berlin Seals) take a dip in the Orankesee lake during their traditional Christmas ice swimming session in Berlin on December 25, 2011.


20 of 33

North Bondi Surf Life-Savers pose alongside their Christmas tree at Bondi Beach on December 25, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. Bondi Beach is a popular place for tourists on Christmas Day.

Getty Images/Dan Arnold/Getty Images/Dan Arnold

21 of 33

Chinese children rest after singing Christmas songs for customers at a shopping center on Christmas Eve December 24, 2011 in Beijing, China. Though Christmas is not officially celebrated in China, the holiday is becoming increasingly popular as Chinese adopt more Western ideas and festivals.

Getty Images/Feng Li/Getty Images/Feng Li

22 of 33

Chinese children sing Christmas songs for customers at a shopping center on Christmas Eve December 24, 2011 in Beijing, China.

Getty Images/Feng Li/Getty Images/Feng Li

23 of 33

Clergy gather in Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity while Christians gather for Christmas celebrations in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on December 24, 2011, as thousands of Christian pilgrims descended on on the holy city to celebrate in Jesus' traditional birthplace.


24 of 33

People attend Christmas eve mass at St. Therese Christian Armenian


25 of 33

Lithuania's Cardinal Audrys Juozas Backis (R) blesses a crib as he celebrates Christmas mass at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Vilnius on December 24, 2011.


26 of 33

An Iraqi girl attends a Christmas mass at Chaldean Catholic church in Amman early December 25, 2011. Thousands of Iraqi Christians fled to neighbouring Jordan following a spate of bombings that targeted churches in Iraqi cities in the past few years.

REUTERS/Ali Jarekji/REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

27 of 33

Iraqi Christians attend mass on Christmas eve at Chaldean Catholic church in Amman December 24, 2011.

REUTERS/Ali Jarekji/REUTERS/Ali Jarekji

28 of 33

Greg Wilson shows his Christmas spirit during an NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011, in Arlington, Texas.

AP Photo/Sharon Ellman/AP Photo/Sharon Ellman

29 of 33

Choir boys sing during a Christmas eve choral service at St Pauls Cathedral in London December 24, 2011.

REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly/REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

30 of 33

Catholics attend a Christmas mass at Thai Ha Church in Hanoi December 24, 2011.


31 of 33

Greek Orthodox school children sing as Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I (foreground) listens during their Christmas visit to the Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul December 24, 2011.

REUTERS/Murad Sezer (/REUTERS/Murad Sezer (

32 of 33

Pope Benedict XVI greet Korean children during the Christmas mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican December 25, 2011.


33 of 33

A U.S. Chaplain, second right, with the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) attends at a ceremony on the eve of Christmas inside a church at the ISAF's headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011.

AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq/AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq

Report an error Editorial code of conduct