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December 27, 2010

Christmas across the globe

Last Saturday was Christmas Day, the day set aside by Christian faithful to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. Christianity remains the largest religion in the world, with over 2 billion adherents across the globe. Christmas is celebrated in many ways by those followers, and even more ways by those who enjoy the larger, more secular traditions surrounding the modern holiday. Collected here are some glimpses of this year's Christmas observations and celebrations around the world. [Editor's note: Reminder to submit your own Christmas 2010 photos for an upcoming entry in January] (35 photos total)

An Iraqi Christian girl attends a Christmas mass at Chaldean Catholic church in Amman, Jordan on December 22, 2010. 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)

A worshiper stands beneath a painting of baby Jesus in the Grotto, where Christians believe Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, during her visit to the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, ahead of Christmas December 23, 2010. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad) #

A Hindu man has his forehand painted with a message in Hindi "Happy Christmas" on the river banks of the Ganges river on the eve of Christmas, in the northern Indian city of Allahabad on December 24, 2010. (REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash) #

U.S. military personnel from 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) celebrate ahead of Christmas eve, at a military base in Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad on December 24, 2010. (REUTERS/Saad Shalash) #

Pope Benedict XVI holds a candle from his private window, during the unveiling ceremony of the crib in St Peter's Square at the Vatican, on December 24, 2010. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man cleans a statue of Jesus Christ on the roof of a church during Christmas, at Noida in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on December 25, 2010. (REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma) #

Members of the Berlin Seals (Berliner Seehunde) swimming club take a dip in icy Orankesee lake during their traditional Christmas Day ice swim on December 25, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Club members claim a brief dip inthe chilly waters is healthy and improves blood circulation in the body. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images) #

A man holds a candle in prayer during a Christmas mass in the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky cathedral in central Sofia, Bulgaria on December 25, 2010. Bulgaria, unlike some other fellow Orthodox countries, celebrates Christmas on December 25. (NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images) #

Christian pilgrims pray in the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, on Christmas Eve December 24, 2010. (REUTERS/Darren Whiteside) #

Residents of the village of Remedios, 350 Km east of Havana, Cuba, watch fireworks during the traditional "Parrandas" celebration early on the morning of December 25, 2010. Upon the arrival of socialism in Cuba, Christmas celebrations were substituted by the "Parrandas" (Partying) during which the revellers enjoy fireworks and parades of "carrozas" (floats) until the morning. (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Dressed as Santa Claus, Einar Sveinsson of Iceland comforts patient Hasel Sanchez at the emergency room of the Benjamin Bloom Children's Hospital in San Salvador, El Salvador on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Luis Romero) #

Palestinian Christian men attend the Christmas day service at the Catholic church in the West Bank village of Zababdah near the northern city of Jenin on December 25, 2010. (SAIF DAHLAH/AFP/Getty Images) #

A young southern Sudanese woman looks into St. Teresa's Cathedral, where Christmas mass is being held, in Juba, Sudan on December 25, 2010. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic) #

Nepalese Christians attend Christmas Eve mass at The Catholic Assumption Church in Lalitpur on the outskirts of Kathamandu, Nepal on December 24, 2010. Less than one percent of the 27 million population in the largely Hindu Himalayan nation are Christian. (PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Cardinal Roger Mahony leads Christmas mass at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images) #

Santa Claus distributes sweets to children on the occasion of Christmas, at the hotel Le Meridien in New Delhi, India on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. Christians in India make up just over 2 percent of its 1 billion population. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi) #

Eight-year-old Michael Hill, of Davenport, Iowa, sits down after Christmas mass at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images) #

Franky Lewis from Bondi heads out for a surf at Bondi Beach on December 25, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. (Don Arnold/Getty Images) #

A child dressed as Santa Claus walks during morning Christmas service at a church in Jammu, India on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Channi Anand) #

A Christmas tree floats along the Yenisei River as members of a local winter swimmers' club take part in a fancy-dress bathing performance to celebrate the upcoming New Year, with the air temperature at around -21 degrees Celsius (- 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit), in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on December 26, 2010. (REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin) #

Pakistani Christian women pray during the midnight Christmas service at the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010 in Lahore, Pakistan. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary) #

Catholic worshipers leave the St. Esprit Church after a midnight Christmas Mass in Harbiye, downtown Istanbul, Turkey, on December 25, 2010. (MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man walks past the Bishop's House lit with Christmas decorations in Washington, D.C. on December 25, 2010. The display of thousands of lights adorned the Tudor-style mini castle and grounds occupied by the leader of the D.C.-based United House of Prayer for All People. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) #

Philippine National Police investigators inspect the damage to the Sacred Heart Catholic chapel following an explosion during a Christmas Day Mass Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010 on the volatile island of Jolo, Sulu province in the southern Philippines. A bomb exploded during Christmas Day Mass at this chapel inside a police camp, wounding a priest and 10 churchgoers, officials said Saturday. The improvised explosive device was hidden in a ventilation window close to the ceiling of the chapel, which is located inside a police camp in Jolo town on Jolo Island, a stronghold of al-Qaida-linked militants, Sulu provincial police said. (AP Photo/Nickee Butlangan) #

Myanmar Christians pray as they celebrate Christmas at St. Mary's Cathedral on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win) #

Homeless people attend a Christmas mass celebrated in a bus in Nice, southeastern France on December 25 2010. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

A stuffed animal lies in the mud next to a Christmas tree after flooding December 23, 2010 in Highland, California. Residents throughout southern California were hit hard by storms this week, with one of the hardest hit being Highland with several homes flooded. (Eric Thayer/Getty Images) #

Actors recreate the Nativity scene at a church of Mother Mary Queen of Peace in Lodz, Poland on December 25, 2010. (REUTERS/Marcin Stepien/Agencja Gazeta) #

A man dressed as Santa Claus gives presents to the homeless during a Christmas dinner prior to a mass inside a bus, in Nice, southeastern France, December 25, 2010. (REUTERS/Eric Gaillard) #

An Iraqi child sits playing during the Christmas day service at the Syriac Catholic Church of Our Lady of Deliverance/Salvation (Sayidat al-Nejat), in central Baghdad, on December 25, 2010, two months after a violent attack on worshippers in which 46 people were killed in a hostage situation in the church. (SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images) #

Indonesian children dressed in Santa Claus costumes sing along to Christmas carols in Jakarta, Indonesia on December 26, 2010. (REUTERS/Supri) #

A tourist in a Mrs. Claus t-shirt poses for a photo in front of a Christmas tree which she decorated on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 25, 2010. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque) #

South Sudanese gather following the Christmas service at the Juba Catholic Cathedral, in the southern Sudan's capital city on December 25, 2010, in what may be their last Christmas in a unified Sudan. A referendum for southern independence will be held on January 9 and probably lead to the partition of this nation the largest on the African continent. (Trevor Snapp/AFP/Getty Images) #

Bulgarian Patriarch Maxim, center, leads the traditional Christmas Mass at the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky cathedral in downtown Sofia, Bulgaria on Saturday Dec. 25, 2010. (AP Photo / Valentina Petrova) #

A homeless child holds a candle during a street Christmas celebration at Dom Pedro Park in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil on December 24, 2010. The event was organized by the charitable organisation Alianca da Misericordia. (REUTERS/Nacho Doce) #

 
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