Christmas Eve Marked With Solemn Masses, Silly Santas

Pope Francis led a Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican while Santas popped up around the world on the day before Christmas.


Faithful from a Catholic church take part in a Christmas Eve parade in Shanghai.

Aly Song / Reuters
Pope Francis kisses a statue of baby Jesus as he leads the Christmas Eve Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Tony Gentile / Reuters


Chloe, a Lebanese Christian teenager dressed as Santa Claus, hands a gift to a Syrian refugee during a gift distribution in Dbayeh, north of Beirut.

Patrick Baz / AFP - Getty Images


People dressed as Father Frost and Snow Maidens march along a street during a traditional Christmas parade in Minsk. Most of the Christians in Belarus are Orthodox and will celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.

SERGEI GAPON / AFP - Getty Images


Christians attend a Christmas Eve service at the Mar Shimoni church in Bartalla, near Mosul, for the first time since its recapture from ISIS in a massive military operation. ISIS seized Bartalla and swathes of other territory north and west of Baghdad in the summer of 2014, leaving Christians with the grim choices of conversion, paying a tax, fleeing or death.

Safin Hamed / AFP - Getty Images


Thousands of people gather near a Christmas tree for the "Grand Bell Ringing" in Frankfurt. The event is held before major religious holidays and involves 10 inner city church towers ringing their bells for a 30-minute concert.

Arne Dedert / EPA

New York

Santa Claus ice skates in the rain at Rockefeller Center.

Andrew Kelly / Reuters

Hong Kong

Children hold candles during a service at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Tengku Bahar / AFP - Getty Images


A man decorates a tree for Christmas in a Christian neighborhood of Islamabad.

B.K. Bangash / AP


Santa Claus water skis with elves on the Potomac River in Alexandria, just down the river from the nation's capital.

Paul J. Richards / AFP - Getty Images


A child lights candles at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi.

Rajat Gupta / EPA


The Nativity scene, background left, and a Christmas tree adorn St. Peter's Square prior to the start of the Christmas Eve Mass.

Alessandra Tarantino / AP


Santa Claus rides a scooter to an annual biker's meeting in Hagen.

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Ina Fassbender / AFP - Getty Images