What Christmas 2012 Looked Like Around The World

 @MarkJohansonIBT
on December 26 2012 11:06 AM
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What does Christmas mean to you? Ask that question to 100 people around the world and you may get 100 different answers.

From Chile to China, one-third of the global population celebrated the religious holiday Tuesday, while countless others enjoyed its secular charms in unique ways.

Of note in 2012: Pope Benedict led a sacred Christmas mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, where he asked his 1.2 billion followers to pray for peace in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Christians gathered at the place where Jesus Christ is said to have been born in the Palestinian West Bank town of Bethlehem, while in Kabul, NATO-led troops ate a Christmas meal, sang carols and held a candle-lit service.

Millions of Christian families congregated at churches around the world, caught up with loved ones at home and awoke early to open presents under a tree. While many in the northern hemisphere hunkered down for a white Christmas, others south of the equator gathered outside under a blazing summer sun.

Here’s a look at some of the best moments captured on film this Christmas Day:

Christmas

Workers wear a Santa Claus and Little Mermaid costume, as part of their Christmas presentation inside a Ocean Park in Manila. Reuters

Christmas

A dancer performs during Christmas celebrations, on the eve of the holiday at an amusement park in Shanghai. Reuters

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Pakistani Christians attend a mass on Christmas day at a cathedral church in Peshawar. Reuters

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Iraqi Christians pray during a mass on Christmas at St. Joseph Chaldean Church in Baghdad. Reuters

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NATO troops from the International Security Assistance Force get food on Christmas in Kabul. Reuters

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People light candles during a Christmas Eve mass in Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia. Reuters

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British tourists enjoy the waves on a cold and rainy Christmas day on Bondi beach in Sydney. Reuters

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Members of Serpentine swimming club watch first competitor start before annual Christmas Day race in the Serpentine River in central London. Reuters

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A nun prays during Catholic mass at the Church of St. Catherine in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas day. Reuters

Puri

A man dressed in a Santa Claus costume walks past sand sculptures of Santa Clauses created by artist Pattnaik and his students as part of Christmas celebrations on a beach in Puri. Reuters

Times Square

People walk near The Empire State Building as it is lit up in red and green on Christmas day in New York. Reuters

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Christmas ornaments amongst the remains of homes destroyed by fire during Hurricane Sandy in the Breezy Point area of New York's borough of Queens Reuters

Queen

Britain's Queen Elizabeth records her Christmas message in 3-D from the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace. Reuters

Beach

A Nevada woman decorates Christmas tree along Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. Reuters

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Models pose during the Miss Christmas competition in Yangon. Reuters

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Girls dance during a performance to celebrate the Christmas Eve near the Chinese city of Taiyuan. Reuters

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Ruben Torres, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, and fishermen wave to people from a boat on Christmas Eve along the coast of Valparaiso city. Reuters

Christmas

Workers wear a Santa Claus and Little Mermaid costume, as part of their Christmas presentation inside a Ocean Park in Manila. Reuters

Christmas

Pope Benedict XVI leaves at the end of the Christmas night mass in the Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Reuters