Christmas around the world

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BARCELONA, SPAIN: A competitor dressed up as Santa Claus jumps into the sea during the 102nd Barcelona Traditional Christmas Swimming Cup at the Old Harbour of Barcelona on Dec. 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 meters of open water in Barcelona harbour. Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, David Ramos / 2011 Getty Images


VATICAN CITY, VATICAN: Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithfuls as he delivers his Christmas Day message “urbi et orbi” blessing (to the city and to the world) from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica on Dec. 25, 2011 in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Photo: As Credited, Franco Origlia / 2011 Getty Images


BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Iraqi security stands guard as Iraqi Christians attend the Christmas mass at the Virgin Mary Chaldean Christian church in the capital Baghdad on Dec. 25, 2011. Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / 2011 AFP


BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Iraqi Christians attend Christmas mass at the Virgin Mary Chaldean Christian church in the capital Baghdad on December 25, 2011. Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / 2011 AFP


BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Bishop Shlemon Warduni, the second most senior Chaldean in Iraq, gestures to a young member of his congregation following Christmas day mass at the Virgin Mary Chaldean Christian church in the capital Baghdad on Dec. 25, 2011. Iraq’s dwindling Christian population marked Christmas with religious leaders calling for peace, days after attacks across Baghdad killed dozens and a political row raised sectarian tensions. Warduni estimates that Iraq’s Christian population, put at between 800,000 to 1.2 million before the 2003 US-led invasion that overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein, had halved since then. Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / 2011 AFP


AMRITSAR, INDIA: Father Kolenchery Roby performs holy communion at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Amritsar on Dec. 25, 2011. Despite Christians forming a little over two percent of the billion plus population in India, with Hindus comprising the majority, Christmas is celebrated with much fanfare and zeal throughout the country. Photo by NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, NARINDER NANU / 2011 AFP


NEW DELHI, INDIA: A man wearing a Santa Claus hat walks behind a display of Christian wares for sale at a street stall on the roadside in front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Christmas Day. Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Daniel Berehulak / 2011 Getty Images


SRINAGAR, INDIA: A devotee offers prayers on Christmas day at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Srinagar on Dec. 25, 2011. Photo by ROUF BHAT/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, ROUF BHAT / 2011 AFP


NEW DELHI, INDIA: Street vendors speak to a potential customer as they sell Christmas items at the roadside, in front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2011 in New Delhi, India. A diverse variety of religions are practiced by the Indian population with Christianity being the third largest, consisting of approximately 25 million followers and constituting roughly 2.3% of the population. Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Daniel Berehulak / 2011 Getty Images


KING’S LYNN, ENGLAND: Princess Eugenie and Queen Elizabeth II accept flowers from children outside Sandringham Church after the traditional Christmas Day service at Sandringham on Dec. 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. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Chris Jackson / 2011 Getty Images


KING’S LYNN, ENGLAND: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, leaves Sandringham Church after the traditional Christmas Day in King’s Lynn, England. Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Chris Jackson / 2011 Getty Images


BATH, ENGLAND: Members of the Duke of Beaufort Hunt ride out on their Christmas Eve meet at West Littleton near Bath, England. Many hunts across the country will be gearing up for their Boxing Day meets, which traditionally are the highest attended of the hunting calender. Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Matt Cardy / 2011 Getty Images


LONDON, ENGLAND: Residents of the ‘Occupy London Stock Exchange’ sleep in a marquee on Christmas morning, outside St Paul’s Cathedral. A deferred High Court ruling of the eviction of the anti-capitalism protest camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral will see the encampment remain in place until at least January 11, 2012. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Oli Scarff / 2011 Getty Images


NEW DELHI, INDIA: A boy wearing a Santa hat holds up a Christmas decoration he is selling at the roadside as Christians gather to celebrate Christmas at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Christmas Day. Photo by Daniel Berehulak /Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Daniel Berehulak / 2011 Getty Images


 BEIJING, CHINA: Chinese children sing Christmas songs for customers at a shopping center on Christmas Eve. Though Christmas is not officially celebrated in China, the holiday is becoming increasingly popular as Chinese adopt more Western ideas and festivals. Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Feng Li / 2011 Getty Images


IRVING, TEXAS: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Eric Hanson is greeted by his pregnant wife Masuka Hanson after arriving home from Afghanistan at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Their baby is due January 3. Hundreds of family members and volunteers gathered to meet more than 350 troops who arrived on Christmas Eve for their two-week leave from deployments in Afghanistan and Kuwait. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, John Moore / 2011 Getty Images


SOFIA, BULGARIA: A man lights a candle during a Christmas mass in the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky cathedral in central Sofia. Bulgaria, unlike some other fellow Orthodox countries, celebrates Christmas on Dec. 25. Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV / 2011 AFP


 CAIRO, EGYPT: An Egyptian Muslim religious leader attends Christmas day mass in the Armenian Catholic Church of the Assumption. Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / 2011 AFP


BISHKEK, KYRGYZSTAN: U.S. soldiers take part in a Christmas parade at the US Transit Center of Manas’ airport in the outskirts of Bishkek. The United States and Kyrgyzstan have signed a deal in June 2009 to create a center for the transit of non-lethal goods to Afghanistan through the Central Asian country’s Manas airbase. Photo by VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO / 2011 AFP


BELGRADE, SERBIA: People dressed as Santa Claus take part in the traditional Christmas race. Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / 2011 AFP


ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN: Pakistani Christians women pray around illuminated display of nativity scenes specially set up during Christmas celebrations at a Christian neighborhood in Islamabad. There is a tiny Christian minority in Pakistan, where only three percent of the population of 167 million are estimated to be non-Muslim. Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, AAMIR QURESHI / 2011 AFP


IGRIT, WEST BANK: A Palestinian Christian man places the name of the owner of a destroyed house on the rubble of the Palestinian village of Iqrit during a visit on occasion of Christmas. The several hundred Christian residents living in the hilltop Iqrit village near the Lebanon border were ordered out of their homes in October 1948 amid ongoing fighting of the first Israeli-Arab war, in what the Israeli army said was a temporary measure and the villagers have continued their fight to return, but to no avail. Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, AHMAD GHARABLI / 2011 AFP


BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK: A Christian Orthodox priest walks past children playing inside the Church of the Nativity. Christians began flocking to Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas following a tumultuous year of political upheaval and change across the Arab world. Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, MARCO LONGARI / 2011 AFP


LONDON, ENGLAND: Members of the Serpentine Swimming club exit the water after taking part in their annual Christmas Day race. The swimmers compete in the Peter Pan Cup, a 100 yard swimming race in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake, which has taken place every year since 1864. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Oli Scarff / 2011 Getty Images


LONDON, ENGLAND: Members of the Serpentine Swimming club prepare to take part in their annual Christmas Day race. The swimmers compete in the Peter Pan Cup, a 100 yard swimming race in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake, which has taken place every year since 1864. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Oli Scarff / 2011 Getty Images


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Members of North Bondi Surf Life-Savers patrol the beach at Bondi Beach on Dec. 25, 2011. Bondi Beach is a popular place for tourists on Christmas Day. Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Don Arnold / 2011 Getty Images


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Irish tourist Nicky Delahunty works out in the beach-side gym at Bondi Beach on Dec. 25, 2011. Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images.
Photo: As Credited, Don Arnold / 2011 Getty Images

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