Christians from around the world gathered in thousands to commemorate the joyous occasion of Easter, staring with the ceremonial vigil service Saturday night.

For the faithful who have made their journey through somber ceremonies of the Holy Week, the occasion marks Jesus Christ's resurrection following his crucifixion, which they observed on Good Friday.

Perhaps the most dramatic service was held at Vatican, with Pope Benedict XVI presenting the symbolic Paschal candle to the packed masses at the St. Peter's Basilica.

Life is stronger than death. Good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Truth is stronger than lies, the Pope told the devout, according to the Associated Press.

The Pope conducted the traditional baptismal ceremony at the event, with several adult converts coming forward to embrace their new faith. An Easter Mass will be held in St. Peter's Square Sunday morning, after which the Pope will present his Urbi et Orbi message from the basilica balcony.

Here's a look at the Easter festivities that began Saturday night.