Holiday revelers celebrate Christmas around the world
Christians flock to Bethlehem to mark Jesus' birth, as pope prepares for Vatican Mass.
Dec. 24, 2012: Pope Benedict XVI arrives to lead the Christmas night mass in the Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
Dec. 24, 2012: Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Heralded by the blare of trumpets reflecting Christmas joy, Pope Benedict XVI is presiding over Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, packed with tourists, Romans and other faithful. The ceremony began at 10 p.m. Monday night instead of the traditional midnight start time, which was changed at the Vatican years ago to let the pontiff rest before a Christmas Day speech to be delivered the next day from the basilica's central balcony.
Dec. 24, 2012: Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican.
Pope Benedict XVI prays as he leads the Christmas night mass in the Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican December 24, 2012. REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION)
Dec. 25, 2012: Pope Benedict XVI leaves at the end of the Christmas night mass in the Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
Dec. 24, 2012: A Vatican security officer stands by the Nativity scene that was unveiled in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI has lit a Christmas peace candle set on the windowsill of his private studio overlooking square. Pilgrims, tourists and Romans gathered below in St. Peter's Square for the inauguration Monday evening of a Nativity scene and cheered when the flame was lit.
A man dressed up as a Ded Moroz, or Father Frost, the Russian version of Santa Claus, poses with women dressed as Father Frost's assistants at Moscow's Manezh Square on Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. The Kremlin is at the background. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Dec. 21, 2012 - Sailors aboard the USS John S. McCain, a destroyer with the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet based in Yokosuka, Japan, light up a Christmas tree in the ship's mess to celebrate the holidays in Yokosuka.
Dec. 24, 2012: A Palestinian security officer stands guard as Christian worshippers and tourists celebrate at the Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Thousands of Christian worshippers and tourists arrived in Bethlehem on Monday to mark Christmas at the site where many believe Jesus Christ was born.
Dec. 24, 2012: A Palestinian vendor sells balloons and Christmas hats at Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, on Christmas eve in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
Dec. 24, 2012: Christian boys from Nigeria walk outside the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
Dec. 24, 2012: Christian worshippers from Nigeria wait outside the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
Dec. 24, 2012: Christian worshippers from Nigeria pray in the Grotto of the Church of Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
Dec. 24, 2012: A member of the clergy holds a cross as he waits for the arrival of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Dec. 24, 2012: Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, center right, attends Christmas celebrations in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
Dec. 23, 2012 - Window cleaners dressed as Santa Claus and a reindeer work at a shopping mall in Tokyo.
Dec. 24, 2012: Nigerian pilgrims visit the Church of Nativity, the site revered by Christians as Jesus' birthplace, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
Dec. 24, 2012: Jordanian and Iraqi Christian children light candles before attending a Christmas mass in Amman.
Dec. 24, 2012: Iranian Christians pray in the Christmas mass at the Saint Mary Chaldean- Assyrian Catholic church, in downtown Tehran, Iran.
Dec. 24, 2012: A female Iranian Christian lights candle at the Saint Mary Chaldean- Assyrian Catholic church, on the Christmas eve, in downtown Tehran, Iran.
Dec. 24, 2012: Indians visit an illuminated All Saints Cathedral on the eve of Christmas in Allahabad, India.
Dec. 24, 2012: U.S. Specialist army Gloria Camacho, left, other soldiers, and service members with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) hold lit candles on Christmas eve at the U.S.-led coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Dec. 24, 2012: Christmas decorations are seen outside a Church, as a U.S. army solider with the NATO- led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) walks the Church on Christmas eve at the U.S.-led coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Dec. 24, 2012: Pakistani Christian children sit by a scene of the nativity, in the slums of Islamabad, Pakistan on Christmas Eve.
Dec. 24, 2012: A cross is pictured as Catholics attend a Christmas eve mass at a Catholic church near the city of Taiyuan, Shanxi province.
Dec. 24, 2012: People pass by a huge Christmas ball in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
Dec. 23, 2012 - Chinese girls dressed in Santa Claus costumes carry a basket of sweets wait to distribute to children near a Christmas decoration at a shopping mall in Beijing.
Dec. 22, 2012 - Fireworks explode over Christmas illuminations at Tokyo Bay area in Tokyo.
A man disguised as Santa Claus rides a motorcycle in Mexico City, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Fireworks light up the sky above a 326 meter tall Christmas 'tree' decoration, illuminating the TV tower in Vilnius, Lithuania, during the official lighting-up ceremony on Christmas Day Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)