Festive holiday lights

Colorful light displays banish the gloom around the world

People shop at a local market during preparations for Christmas in Bhopal, India, on Dec. 21, 2013. Despite the fact that Christians are only a little over two percent of the Indian population, Christmas is celebrated throughout the country.

Sanjeev Gupta / EPA

An indigenous girl looks at Christmas decorations at Murillo square in La Paz, Bolivia, on Dec. 20.

Martin Alipaz / EFE

Trees are decorated with lights to celebrate the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays at Garden of Morning Calm in Gapyeong, South Korea, on Dec. 20, 2013. Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in South Korea, where over half of the population is Christian.

Ahn Young-joon / AP

Residents of Matraville decorate their homes with lights in celebration of Christmas on Dec. 20, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.

Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images AsiaPac

People pass a Christmas tree in Ala-Too Square in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, on Dec. 19, 2013.

Vyacheslav Oseledko / AFP

Sara Ringkrans, 28, a primary school teacher from York who moved to the U.K. from Stockholm, prepares to lead off the procession at the start of the Sankta Lucia festival of light service at York Minster on Dec. 19, 2013 in York, England. The Swedish tradition of Sankta Lucia shares many similarities with advent processions. It symbolizes bringing light into the dark winter and is one of the most significant services in the Swedish ecclesiastical calendar.

Ian Forsyth / Getty Images Europe

A woman runs past holiday lights at the Paradeplatz square in Zurich, Switzerland, on Dec. 19, 2013.

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Christmas lights decorate the home of the Duszenko family in Polkowice, southwestern Poland, on Dec. 18. The family used around 52,000 lights in their display.

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Samatha Weaver, left, and Nicholas Cale, both from Lenexa, Kan., take photos of a holiday display on Dec. 18 in a park in Lenexa, Kan.

Charlie Riedel / AP

Lights for the holidays illuminate the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 18 in New York City.

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A tourist lights a candle at the Church of Nativity, revered as birthplace of Jesus, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Dec. 18.

Ammar Awad / X90085

A man uses his mobile device to take photographs of a Christmas tree in front of the landmark Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Dec. 18. Malaysia is 60 percent Muslim and Islam is the state religion. Only about nine percent of the poulation is Christian.

Ahmad Yusni / EPA

Visitors pass Christmas decorations on a house in the Dyker Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Dec. 16.

Justin Lane / EPA

Visitors walk through the holiday lights display,"ZooLights," at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago on Dec. 17.

Jim Young / X90065

A visitor reacts at the sight of an illuminated teddy bear at the holiday lights display,"ZooLights," at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago on Dec. 17.

Jim Young / X90065

The colorfully-decorated Buccaneer Pirate Cruise ship lights up the harbor on Dec. 15 during the 27th Annual Holiday on the Harbor Lighted Boat Parade in Destin, Fla.

Devon Ravine / Northwest Florida Daily News

Christmas lights outline towers at the Country Club Plaza shopping center as the sun sets Dec. 15 in Kansas City, Mo. About 80 miles of lights with 280,000 multi-colored bulbs outline the buildings and towers in the shopping district.

Charlie Riedel / AP

Catholics shelture under umbrellas as they attend the traditional 'Misa de Gallo' (Dawn Mass) during a downpour in front of a church in Las Pinas city, south of Manila, the Philippines, on Dec. 16. The Dawn Mass is held for nine consecutive days prior to Christmas Day.

Francis R. Malasig / EPA

A Christmas tree sits at the Martyrs' Square next to Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque in downtown Beirut on Dec. 14.

Anadolu Agency / Anadolu

Christmas shoppers mingle on London's Carnaby Street on Dec. 14.

Dan Dennison / Getty Images Europe

The lights in the Christmas tree on the central square in Gouda are switched on during the traditional candle-evening in Gouda, Netherlands, on Dec. 13. During the event, hundreds of candles burn behind the windows of the houses and the town hall. Gouda is well-known for its candle factory.

Koen Van Weel / AFP

A woman watches an illuminated rotating Ferris wheel at a Christmas market in Essen, Germany, on Dec. 13.

Martin Meissner / AP

People gather around the lights of the 'Bright Christmas' display in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Dec. 12.

Orlando Barrã­a / EFE

"The Lights of Christmas" display is projected onto St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on Dec. 12. The graphics depict the story of Christmas and will run nightly until Christmas night.

James Horan / Handout / AVVISO PR

Bus driver Edilson, 45, also known as "Fumassa," works while wearing a Santa Claus outfit in a bus festooned with Christmas decorations in Santo Andre on the outskirts of Sao Paulo on Dec. 10.

Nacho Doce / X01629

The ceiling of the Marktkirche ("The Church on the Marketplace") is bathed in color for a Christmas light display on Dec. 9, 2013, in Hanover, Germany.

Peter Steffen / DPA

A girl poses for a picture at the Christmas lights display in Medellin, Colombia, on Dec. 9.

Raul Arboleda / AFP

Guests gather next to a Christmas tree outside 10 Downing Street, the office of Britain's prime minister, in central London on Dec. 9 after the holiday lights were turned on.

Lefteris Pitarakis / AP

A man photographs Christmas trees in front of a church in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, on Dec. 8. The display contained one tree for each of the 47 victims of a train derailment carrying crude oil that burned most of the historic downtown in July.

Paul Chiasson / CP

Holiday lights birghten Via Del Corso in Rome on Dec. 8.

Ernesto Ruscio / Getty Images Europe

A 20-meter-high (65 feet) Christmas tree stands in Market Square in Wroclaw, Poland, on Dec. 8.

Maciej Kulczynski / PAP

Children play in a holiday light display on Royal Treaty Street in Warsaw, Poland, on Dec. 7.

Pawel Supernak / PAP

The facade of a building is lit up for The Festival Of Lights in Lyon, France, on Dec. 7. The event began as a tribute to the Virgin Mary as part of a promise made when an outbreak of plague subsided in 1643.

Bruno Vigneron / Getty Images Europe

A child plays under lit mushrooms in the "Light Labyrinth" in the Wilanow Palace Garden in Warsaw, Poland, on Dec. 6. The labyrinth, made of over 150,000 colored lamps and based on themes from "Alice in Wonderland," is a winter attraction for children.

Alik Keplicz / AP

A couple walk through illuminated holiday decorations in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Dec. 5.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images Europe

Adam Lopez passes a giant pair of illuminated boots outside the North Star Mall on Dec. 5 in San Antonio, Texas. The 40-foot tall boots are decorated with holiday lights annually.

Eric Gay / AP

Rabbi Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, her daughter, Aiden Bahar, and Victor Vanleeuwen light the last candle on the Menorah on the last day of Hanukkah in Big Spring International Park in Huntsville, Ala., on Dec. 5. The Menorah is made from exhaust pipes and the candles are soda cans filled with oil.

Eric Schultz /

Trees are bathed in red light at the Chinese Corner installation by artist Li Li during the rehearsal for the Festival of Lights in central Lyon, France, on Dec. 5.

Robert Pratta / X00222

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is lit Dec. 4 in New York. Some 45,000 energy-efficient LED lights adorn the 76-foot tree.

Stan Honda / AFP

Angels made of wire and light frame the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree after it was lit Dec. 4 in New York City.

Kathy Willens / AP

Israel Electric, the main supplier of electrical power in Israel, creates an interpretation of a menorah using cranes, as they try to create the world's largest menorah to celebrate Hanukkah in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on Dec. 4. The menorah consists of nine aerial platforms: the Shamash (the "attendant" candle) crane will rise to a height of 28 meters (92 feet) and the other eight cranes will stretch their arms to a height of 22 meters (72 feet). The Hanukkah holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Jews' 165 B.C. victory over the Hellenist Syrians when Antiochus, the Greek King of Syria, outlawed Jewish rituals and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods.

Jack Guez / AFP

People walk by a giant Christmas ball displayed in Nice, southeastern France, on Dec. 4.

Valery Hache / AFP

Two women inspect advent stars at a shop in a Christmas Market in Berlin on Dec. 4. Dozends of Christmas markets offer decorations around the holidays in central Berlin during advent.

Markus Schreiber / AP

A visitor passes by an artistic Christmas tree created by French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier on display during the exhibition 'Les Sapins de Noel des Createurs' (The Designers Christmas Trees) at the Hotel de Rothschild, in Paris on Dec. 3. Every year, renowned personalities from the world of fashion, design or architecture, offer their vision of a Christmas tree for a charity auction.

Yoan Valat / EPA

The National Christmas tress stands lit near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Dec. 3.

Jim Watson / AFP

Tourists visit the Christmas market in Prague's Old Town Square on Dec. 3.

Michal Cizek / AFP

People walk near a Christmas tree in front of the Vendome Column as part of holiday season decorations at Place Vendome in Paris on Dec. 2.

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A Christmas tree stands at the Christmas market in Prague's Old Town Square on Dec. 2. Christmas markets, traditionally selling mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, hot mead, and Christmas tree decorations, opened across the Czech Republic during the first Advent weekend.

Matej Divizna / Getty Images Europe

Santa Claus attends the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree on Dec. 2 in Nashville.

Mark Humphrey / AP

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man prays and lights candles on the fifth night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the festival of light, at the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Sheaarim on Dec. 1 in Jerusalem. Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BC following the victory of the Jewish Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire when there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day, but miraculously, the oil burned for eight days.

Uriel Sinai / Getty Images Europe

A man holds a child in front of a Christmas tree that was lit during a ceremony outside the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Dec. 1.

Ammar Awad / X90085

A Santa Claus lights up Berlin's Kurfuerstendamm, the main shoping boulevard, on Dec. 1.

Fabrizio Bensch / X90145

A woman takes a picture of herself in front of holiday decorations in Berlin on Dec. 1.

Fabrizio Bensch / X90145