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Category: holiday

September 8, 2014 Permalink

Romanian Romas celebrate the birth of the Virgin Mary

The Roma community in Romania celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania. Thousands of Gypsies or Roma gather on a hillside after attending a religious service in a nearby monastery and celebrate the holiday by sharing food and playing traditional music until the next dawn. The feast day of the Assumption of Mary, or simply Assumption Day or St Mary’s Day, is one of the most important feasts in the Orthodox Christian calendar. --Thea Breite (11 photos total)

A vendor sells balloons as the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (Vadim Ghirda/AP)
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May 9, 2014 Permalink

Victory Day in Ukraine and Crimea

President Vladimir Putin visited Crimea today for the first time since the Russian annexation for Victory Day celebrations. Cities in the Ukraine also celebrated, among the death and destruction from the continuing crisis between pro-Russian and Ukraine forces. --Leanne Burden Seidel (20 photos total)

A woman cries as she takes part in a procession of Wold War II veterans and their relatives during Victory Day celebrations in the Crimean port of Sevastopol on May 9. Crimea's largely Russian-speaking residents voted in March to become part of Russia, in a hastily organized referendum held as Russian troops patrolled the region. (MAXV VETROV/AFP/Getty Images)
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April 18, 2014 Permalink

Week of observances

Religious ceremonies, some solemn, some joyous, took place around the world this week. Holy Week is observed by many different Christians before Easter. The Jewish holiday of Passover is celebrated for a week, and the New Year festivals of Vaisakhi and Thinhyan were also observed. --Leanne Burden Seidel (28 photos total)

An Indian Sikh pilgrim parades on April 13 in Bobigny, near Paris, during celebrations for Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year Festival, which also commemmorates the founding of the Khalsa (Sikh community) by the tenth Guru (Guru Gobind Singh) in 1699. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
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January 13, 2014 Permalink

Muslims around the world celebrate the birth of Mohammed

Muslims around the world celebrate the birth of the Islamic Prophet Muhammed, who was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 570 AD. His birthday is marked in many ways in different Muslim nations. --Thea Breite (16 photos total)

An illuminated mosque on the eve of the Eid-Milad-ul-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, in Karachi, Pakistan, January 13, 2014. Eid-Milad-ul-Nabi, is celebrated all over the world every year with traditional festivity and religious fervor. (Shahzaib Akber/EPA)
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December 30, 2013 Permalink

Happy New Year, world

It’s time to have a little New Year’s fun. No depressing (yet important) photos of serious events from the year. Just a collection of fun, silly, unusual, picturesque and unique photos of people from different parts of the world either getting ready to celebrate 2014 or already doing so. --Thea Breite (15 photos total)

A reveler writes "2014" with sparklers in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, December 30, 2013. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)
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December 12, 2013 Permalink

Lighting up the season

At the end of the year, many parts of the world are brightened by glittering displays. Holidays and festivals bring people out at night for a visual treat and interiors are bathed in festive lights. Life is made more colorful for a variety of celebrations. -Leanne Burden Seidel ( 37 photos total)

Sara Cervantes takes pictures of Christmas decorations at Pershing Square, Dec. 6, in Los Angeles.(Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)
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May 10, 2013 Permalink

National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2013 Photo Contest

The National Geographic Traveler Magazine photo contest, now in its 25th year, has begun. There is still plenty of time to enter. The entry deadline is Sunday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. Entrants may submit their photographs in any or all of the four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. The magazine's photo editors showcase their favorite entries each week in galleries. You can also vote for your favorites. "The pictures increasingly reflect a more sophisticated way of seeing and interpreting the world, making the judging process more difficult," says Keith Bellows, magazine editor in chief. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly edited for readability.) As always, you can take a look at some of last year's entries and winners.. -- Paula Nelson ( 40 photos total)

OUTDOOR SCENES - Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl - Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey. Okeefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USA. (Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
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May 3, 2013 Permalink

Daily Life: April 2013

I look forward each month to browsing the compilation of "slice of life" images from around the world. They offer us a visual break, if you will, from the tragedies, disasters, wars and violence seemingly so pervasive in our world. Through these images, we can immerse ourselves in the simplicity of everyday life. Daily Life: April 2013 takes us to North and South Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Spain, Indonesia, China, Russia; and around the United States to California, Texas, Maine, Florida, Kansas, Washington state, and more. Enjoy.--- Paula Nelson ( 49 photos total)

A village boy holds a traditional handmade umbrella as he keeps watch over cattle grazing in the field on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, India, April 20, 2013. (Biswaranjan Rout/Associated Press)
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April 1, 2013 Permalink

Holi celebrations 2013

The Hindu festival of Holi celebrates the beginning of spring. As a festival of colors that marks events in Hindu mythology, it provides photographers with a visual feast. Holi falls on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna, which was on March 27 this year. It is a joyous ritual when intense colors, light, emotion, and energy combine in a surreal vision of spirituality. Enjoy! -Leanne Burden Seidel (36 photos total)

Boys spray colored foam during Holi celebrations at a lane near the Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 26, 2013. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)
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February 15, 2013 Permalink

2013 World Press Photo Contest Winners

For over 55 years, the World Press Photo contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism. The contest is judged by leading experts in visual journalism who represent various aspects of the profession and the composition of the jury is changed from year to year. The prize-winning images are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries over the course of a year and over two million people go to a hundred different venues to see the images. The winners themselves uphold the foundation's simple mission statement: We exist to inspire understanding of the world through quality photojournalism. A sampling of the winning images follows. You can browse more amazing content on World Press Photo. -- Paula Nelson (NOTE: There will be no post on Monday in observance of the holiday.) ( 18 photos total)

World Press Photo of the Year 2012 - Paul Hansen/Sweeden/Dagens Nyheter - Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.
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February 11, 2013 Permalink

Lunar New Year

The celebration of the Lunar New Year is a phenomenon as global as various diaspora allows. Perhaps most well-known in the West as a Chinese celebration, the lunisolar calendar is observed in many more places than just that nation. That said, the Chinese observation is unique in that the holiday transforms the nation into a river of humanity, with a 40-day travel season that sees hundreds of millions of people board trains for home. Gathered here are images of preparations and celebrations in many parts of the world. -- Lane Turner (42 photos total)

Worshippers burn incense to pray for good fortune on the first day of Lunar New Year at Dafo temple in Chongqing, China on February 10, 2013. The Lunar New Year, known as Spring Festival in China, begins on February 10 and marks the start of the Year of the Snake there, according to the Chinese zodiac. (Stringer/Reuters)
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December 17, 2012 Permalink

2012 Year in Pictures: Part I

Another year has come and gone and with it hundreds of thousands of images have recorded the world's evolving history; moments in individual lives; the weather and it's affects on the planet; acts of humanity and tragedies brought by man and by nature. The following is a compilation - not meant to be comprehensive in any way - of images from the first 4 months of 2012. Parts II and III to follow this week. -- Paula Nelson ( 64 photos total)

Fireworks light up the skyline and Big Ben just after midnight, January 1, 2012 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
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October 26, 2012 Permalink

In preparation for Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha also called Feast of the Sacrifice, is an important 3-day religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to honor the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail (Ishmael) a as an act of submission to God and his son's acceptance of the sacrifice, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a ram to sacrifice instead. The 3 days and 2 nights of Eid al-Adha are celebrated annually on the 10th, 11th and 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and last month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Eid begins today. -- Paula Nelson ( 32 photos total)

A livestock market ahead of the sacrificial Eid al-Adha festival in Karachi, Oct. 24, 2012. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, honors Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael on the order of God, who according to tradition then provided a lamb in the boy's place. (Asif Hassan/AFP/Getty Images)
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February 14, 2012 Permalink

Seeing red: Valentine’s Day 2012

People around the world once again expressed their affection for one another in many ways with balloons, cards, flowers, chocolates, gifts, and kisses to name just a few. The National Retail Federation said Americans alone will spend some $17.6 billion on the day that traces its origins to Roman rituals and the legend of Saint Valentine from the Catholic Church. -- Lloyd Young (34 photos total)

A man is silhouetted as he fills heart shaped balloons with helium while waiting for customers on Valentine's Day in Islamabad. (Faisal Mahmood/Reuters)
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January 23, 2012 Permalink

Lunar New Year 2012

The lunar new year is celebrated throughout the world, but especially in Asia when the lunisolar calendar ticks off a new cycle. This year is the Year of the Dragon on the Chinese zodiac, and is viewed as very auspicious. In China, the holiday is known as 春节, the Spring Festival, and kicks off 15 days of celebration. It also triggers the largest human migration in the world, as hundreds of millions of Chinese trek to see families. Gathered here are images of the preparation for the holiday, the travel scene in mainland China, and celebrations in many parts of the world. 新年快乐! -- Lane Turner/雷恩 (38 photos total)

Chinese folk artists perform the lion dance at a temple fair to celebrate the Lunar New Year on January 22, 2012 in Beijing. Also known as the Spring Festival, which is based on the Lunisolar calendar, it is celebrated from the first day of the first month of the lunar year and ends with the Lantern Festival on the Fifteenth day. (Feng Li/Getty Images)
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January 20, 2012 Permalink

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 2012

The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival has been held since 1963, interrupted for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution until it was resumed in 1985. Harbin is the capital of Heilongjiang province, in northeastern China. It is nicknamed "Ice City" and aptly so for winter January temperatures that average minus 18 degrees Celsius, under the influence of the cold winter wind from Siberia. The festival officially starts January 5th and lasts one month, although exhibits often stay open longer, weather permitting. Harbin is one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival and Norway's Ski Festival. -- Paula Nelson (28 photos total)

Tourists visit ice sculptures during the testing period of the 13th Harbin Ice and Snow World in Harbin, Heilongjiang province. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival officially launched January 5, 2012. (Sheng Li/Reuters)
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January 16, 2012 Permalink

Kalachakra: A festival of teachings and meditations

Kalachakra is an ancient ritual that involves a series of prayers, meditations, dances, chants, vows and the construction of a large sand mandala - all with the aim to bring world peace. Kalachakra 2012 began January 1 and lasted for ten days in the northern Indian state of Bihar. The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Spiritual Leader, gave teachings and participated over the course of the festival. -- Paula Nelson (41 photos total)

A Buddhist devotee holds a lotus flower as she waits to welcome spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in the town of Bodhgaya, believed to be the place where Buddha attained enlightenment, for the upcoming Kalachakra Buddhist festival in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, India. The Kalachakra, the most important ritual of the Mahayana sect of traditional Buddhists, begins Dec. 31. (Altaf Qadri/Associated Press)
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January 4, 2012 Permalink

2012: Marking the New Year

Around the world people celebrated with fireworks, kisses, blessings, gatherings, cheers, watching the sunrise and plunges into icy bodies of water to welcome in a new year. Here's a look back at how some of them marked the transition. -- Lloyd Young (41 photos total)

Fireworks explode in the sky over Bucharest, Romania, at midnight, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, during street celebrations of the new year. Large crowds gathered downtown Romania's capital taking advantage of the dry weather to attend the celebrations. (Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press)
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November 28, 2011 Permalink

Christmas approaches

The Christian religious holiday may not arrive until December 25, but secular and commercial festivities have been in full swing for almost a month already. Increasingly the non-religious aspects of the holiday are celebrated even in countries without a strong Christian tradition. Gathered here are images of preparations from around the world as it begins to look a lot like Christmas. -- Lane Turner (42 photos total)

Christmas angels and a Santa Claus ride on Segways in Berlin on November 3, 2011. Santa opened his job agency for students who want to work as Santa Claus or a Christmas Angels in the upcoming christmas season. (Wolfgang Kumm/AFP/Getty Images)
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November 7, 2011 Permalink

The Hajj and Eid al-Adha

The Hajj pilgrimage draws millions of Muslims from around the world every year to Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's holiest place. Saudi Arabia expects to host perhaps three million people in a ritual journey that every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it must make at least once in their lifetime. It is the largest annual gathering of humanity anywhere. Timed to the Muslim lunar calendar, the Hajj is followed by the celebrations of the three-day festival of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, which symbolizes Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son. Collected here are photographs of the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, as well as images of preparations for the Hajj and Eid al-Adha in many other parts of the Muslim world. -- Lane Turner (42 photos total)

A Muslim pilgrim prays as visits the Hiraa cave at the top of Noor Mountain on the outskirts of Mecca, Saudi Arabia on November 2, 2011. According to tradition, Islam's Prophet Mohammed received his first message to preach Islam while he was praying in the cave. (Hassan Ammar/AP)
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October 21, 2011 Permalink

Sukkot: A celebration

Sukkot, or Feast of Tabernacles, is a Biblical holiday celebrated in late September to late October. The holiday lasts seven days. The Sukkah is a walled structure covered with plant material - built for the celebration - and is intended to be a reminiscence of the type of dwelling in which the Israelites stayed during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the exodus from slavery in Egypt. Throughout the holiday, meals are eaten inside the Sukkah and many sleep there as well. On each day of the holiday, members of the household recite a blessing over the lulav and etrog (four species). The four species include the lulav (a ripe green, closed frond from a date palm tree), the hadass (boughs with leaves from the myrtle tree), the aravah (branches with leaves from the willow tree) and the etrog (the fruit of a citron tree.) -- Paula Nelson (29 photos total)

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish child walks over palm fronds to be used to build a Sukkah hut, in Jerusalem's religious Mea Shearim neighborhood, Oct. 6, 2011. The palm branches are used as the roof of a temporary house called a "Sukkah" which is built and lived in during the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot. (Bernat Armangue/Associated Press)
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September 26, 2011 Permalink

China: Daily Life Sept. 2011

This Big Picture post gives us a glimpse of daily life in parts of China, documented by wire photographers from the Associated Press, Reuters and Getty. The post begins with a short essay by Reuters photographer Jason Lee. Lee photographed six-year-old Wang Gengxiang, known as the "Masked Boy." Gengxiang was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. Most of the skin on the little boy's head was burned off, requiring him to wear a full surgical mask. The mask is said to prevent his scars from becoming infected. According to the local media in the village where Gengxiang was photographed, the doctors cannot continue his skin-graft surgery until his damaged trachea (or windpipe) is strong enough. The Lee essay is following by a black slide, and then more "slice of life" photography from a still somewhat mysterious China. -- Paula Nelson (50 photos total)

Wang Gengxiang on Children's Day, June 1, 2010, and after he was severely burned in an accident, at Mijiazhuang village on the outskirts of Fenyang, North China's Shanxi province, September 9, 2011. Gengxiang, age 6, known as "Masked Boy", was severely burned in an accident involving a burning pile of straw last winter. (Jason Lee/Reuters)
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August 24, 2011 Permalink

Krishna Janmashtami

Indian Hindu devotees throughout the world celebrate Janmashtami, which marks the birth of Hindu God Lord Krishna with enormous zeal and enthusiasm. Children and adults dress as the Hindu God Krishna and his consort Radha in bright, elaborate costumes and jewelry. Human pyramids form to break the 'dahi-handi' or curd pot. The large earthenware pot is filled with milk, curds, butter, honey and fruits and is suspended from a height of 20 - 40 feet. Participants come forward to claim this prize by constructing a human pyramid, enabling the uppermost person to reach the pot and claim its contents. -- Paula Nelson (27 photos total)

An Indian schoolboy is dressed as the Hindu God Krishna. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press)
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May 12, 2011 Permalink

Victory Day

Victory Day, May 9th, marks the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War. It was first begun in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union following the signing of the surrender document late in the evening on May 8, 1945, but already after midnight by Moscow time, thus May 9th. During the Soviet Union's existence, May 9th was celebrated throughout the USSR and in the countries of the Easter Bloc. The war became a topic of importance in cinema, literature, and history lessons at school, the mass media, and the arts. After the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe, most former USSR countries retained the celebration. In Russia during the 1990s, May 9th was not celebrated massively, because Soviet-style mass demonstrations did not fit in with the way the liberal power base in Moscow communicated with the country’s residents. Things changed when Vladimir Putin came to power. He started to promote the prestige of the governing regime and history, national holidays and commemorations all became a source for national self-esteem. Since then Victory Day in Russia has increasingly been turning into a joyous celebration in which popular culture plays a great role. -- Paula Nelson (47 photos total)

Moses Mokvin, 86, a World War II veteran stands in Red Square after the Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany in Moscow, Russia. Tens of thousands of granite-faced soldiers marched in lockstep across Red Square in Russia's annual Victory Day display of military might. The parade, marking the surrender of Nazi Germany in World War II, is the centerpiece of Russia's most solemn secular holiday, both commemorating the Soviet Union's enormous sacrifices in the war and asserting the potency of its modern military, May 9, 2011. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press)
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March 23, 2011 Permalink

Holi: Festival of Colors

Every year, Hindus greet the turn of winter into spring with a splash of color -- in some areas, a geyser of color. They call their celebration the festival of Holi, and Hindus across India and throughout the world share prayer, camaraderie, special food, and a general sense of mischief as they douse each other in dyes and colored water. The large festival has roots to many Hindu legends associated with the triumph of good over evil. One of the best-known stories tells the tale of the demoness Holika, who tried to kill Prahlad, the son of the demon king Hiranyakashyap, for refusing to worship his father. Instead, Holika is consumed in flames, which is replayed each year with bonfires and effigies, before the celebrants break out the hues and cries of the festival. - Lloyd Young (43 photos total)

Indians call it "playing colors" a jubilant scrum of horseplay and body painting. In Mumbai, colored powder is the weapon of choice for a pair of girls March 20. (Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press)
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January 7, 2011 Permalink

Christmas 2010 - your photos

A few weeks ago, I invited you, the readers of The Big Picture, to submit your own images of Christmas 2010. It was another experiment, I was hoping for high quality, personal images and was not disappointed once again. Several hundred submissions came in from around the world, and I thank every one of you for participating. Looking back on the Christmas season one last time, I present the following collection of reader-submitted photographs - and invite you to see Christmas through their eyes. Captions written by the photographers. (42 photos total)

Sweet Christmas Tree made from Honey Cake, which are prepared one month before Christmas. Typical for Slovak Christmas. (© Matus Vencurik)
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December 13, 2010 Permalink

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

In many places around the world, it is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Santas are making appearances from Beijing to Beirut, and the traditions of the season can be seen all over - the trees, the lights, the shoppers, the devout and more. Collected here are a handful of recent photographs of people enjoying and celebrating this year's Christmas Season as it hits full swing. [Editor's note: This year, I'll be inviting you to submit your own Christmas 2010 photos, starting December 26th. Details coming soon, here and on Twitter (@big_picture)] (37 photos total)

A man dressed as Santa Claus holds a flare as he wakeboards on a small lake in Hamburg, Germany on December 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Christian Charisius)
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March 3, 2010 Permalink

Holi 2010

Last Monday (March 1st), people in India and other countries with large Hindu populations celebrated Holi, the Festival of Colors. A welcoming of Spring, Holi is celebrated as the triumph of good over evil. Hindu devotees and others enthusiastically drop their inhibitions, and chase each other in temples and through the streets, playfully splashing colorful paint, powder and water on each other. People also attend bonfires to commemorate the story of Prahlada, a Hindu figure and devout follower of Lord Vishnu who prevailed over his father and the demoness Holika with the power of his devotion. Collected here are a handful of images from this year's Festival of Colors. (37 photos total)

Children, their faces smeared with colored powder, participate in Holi festivities in Mumbai, India, Monday, March 1, 2010. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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December 28, 2009 Permalink

Christmas 2009

Friday, the 25th, was Christmas Day, the Christian commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated in many places around the world with prayers, singing, gift-giving and charity. Modern Christmas traditions originate from many backgrounds, combining several historic holidays and celebrations into one, the most well-known traditional story being Santa Claus, a jolly old elf who brings gifts to good children all over the world. Collected here are a handful of photographs of people observing the Christmas season this year. (34 photos total)

An Indonesian Christian holds a candle during a Christmas Mass at the Bethany Church in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia on December 24, 2009. (REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas)
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November 2, 2009 Permalink

Days of the Dead

From October 31st through November 2nd, a number of festivals, holidays and solemnities take place, all loosely related and revolving around remembrance of the dead. Halloween, Samhain, All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, the Day of the Dead and other festivals trace their origins back to Celtic, Aztec, Roman and Christian traditions. Halloween is largely a secular observation these days, All Souls and All Saints remain mainly Catholic observations, and the Day of the Dead is still largely a Latin American tradition, its roots in Mexico's Aztec heritage. Collected here are photographs over the past week from the varied observations of the Days of the Dead around the world. (37 photos total)

A skull covered in marigolds rests in front of a wall of graves during preparations for a massive altar in the San Fernando Cemetery in Mexico City, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009. Workers added thousands of marigolds, known in Mexico as "cempasuchil," to giant skull images Tuesday as they prepare to observe the of Day of the Dead. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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