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Religion

Festive Holiday Lights Brighten the Season

 / Updated 24 PHOTOS
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MILAN
A street entertainer dressed as Santa Claus performs with two life-size puppets in Milan on Dec. 20.

Luca Bruno / AP
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FRANKFURT
Visitors stroll through the traditional Christmas Market on Dec. 20.

•Gallery: German Christmas Markets Dazzle Millions Every Year

Michael Probst / AP
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Image: BRAZIL-CHRISTMAS-CHOIR-BATISTA DO MEIER CHURCH

RIO DE JANEIRO
A conductor directs members of the Batista do Meier Church choir, who perform in 24 different windows of the church, on Dec. 19.

Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP
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PORTLAND, Maine
A man portraying Santa Claus moves between cars while greeting passengers during a "Polar Express" holiday train ride to the "North Pole" on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad on Dec. 19.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP
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KAUNAS, Lithuania
Visitors stroll around a Christmas tree in the Old City on Dec. 19.

Mindaugas Kulbis / AP
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VATICAN CITY
The Vatican Christmas tree iis lit up in front of Saint Peter's on Dec. 19.

Filippo Monteforte / AFP
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SINGAPORE
Visitors admire light sculptures from Italy, part of the "Christmas Wonderland" display, on Dec. 19.

Mohd Fyrol / AFP
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Image: A woman takes a picture near a giant Christmas ball as part of New Year and Christmas holiday season decorations in central Moscow

MOSCOW
A woman takes a picture near a giant Christmas ball on Dec. 15, 2014. The 38-foot-high ball claims a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest Christmas toy in the world, according to local media.

Maxim Zmeyev / X90168
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Image: A woman takes a selfie in front of the Balian Ice Cream House which is decorated for Christmas in Altadena

ALTADENA, Calif.
A woman takes a selfie in front of Christmas decorations at the Balian Ice Cream House on Dec. 17.

Mario Anzuoni / X90045
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ROME
Christmas lights hang from a pine tree at Piazza Venezia on Dec. 17.

Tiziana Fabi / AFP
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BERLIN
The first flames of a giant Hanukkah Menorah burn in front of a Christmas tree at the Brandenburg Gate on Dec. 16.

Michael Sohn / AP
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Image: Devotees leave after attending the first of a nine-day pre-dawn mass, locally called "Misa de Gallo", before Christmas at a church in Las Pinas, Metro Manila

MANILA, Philippines
Devotees leave after attending the first of a nine-day pre-dawn mass, locally called "Misa de Gallo," on Dec. 16. The pre-dawn mass is one of the most popular traditions among Filipinos during the Christmas season, the longest holiday celebration in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.

Erik De Castro / X00079
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BUCHAREST, Romania
Visitors stroll through a Christmas fair on Dec. 15. Romania has changed dramatically in the 25 years since the people rose up against dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and began the slow transformation to a market economy and democracy. Under communism, religion was not banned, but churchgoing was discouraged for Communist Party members and the secret police. A dozen churches were razed or moved in Bucharest for the construction of Ceausescu’s giant House of the People.

Vadim Ghirda / AP
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Image: Christmas lights at the harbour

CAROLINENSIEL, Germany
Christmas lights are reflected at the old harbor on Dec. 14.

Ingoâ Wagner / DPA
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CHESTER, England
Christmas shoppers walk through the streets of Chester on Dec. 14.

Paul Ellis / AFP
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BALTIMORE
Christmas lights hang from the houses on 34th Street on Dec. 12. The display, called "Miracle on 34th Street," dates back to 1947 and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Mladen Antonov / AFP
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Image: Christmas Market in Prague

PRAGUE
The Old Town Square and the Christmas market are illuminated on Dec. 12.

Filip Singer / EPA
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DRESDEN, Germany
A dramatic cloud formation fills the sky behind a star on top of a sales booth at the Christmas market on Dec. 12.

Arno Burgi / DPA
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WASHINGTON, D.C.
The Capitol Dome and the Capitol Christmas Tree are illuminated on Dec. 11.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP
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BRUSSELS
A giant Christmas tree and a light show decorate the Grand Place in Brussels, on Dec. 12. The Christmas tree is a gift of Riga, capital city of Latvia.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP
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BRUSSELS
The tree is 72 feet high, one of the highest to have adorned the Grand Place.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP
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MADRID
A man takes a photo of Christmas lights amid swirling pedestrians on Dec. 7.

Dani Pozo / AFP
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Image: Christmas illumination in Warsaw

WARSAW, Poland
A child is delightted by traditional decorations on the Royal Treaty Streets on Dec. 6.

Eradek Pietruszka / PAP
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NEW YORK
The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is lit on Dec. 3. Weighing approximately 13 tons, the 85-foot tall, 90-year-old Norway Spruce is adorned with 45,000 energy efficient LED lights.

Jason Decrow / FR103966 AP
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