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Friday, February 23, 2024

Photos of Christmas 2023 around the world

Families around the world are marking Christmas Day with traditions both ancient and new — from church services to icy swim races. The Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus of Nazareth is celebrated by billions worldwide, and while customs vary in different cultures, the universal theme of the holiday is love and joy — shadowed this year by the toll of war in the Middle East, Ukraine and other conflicts across the globe.

Here is a look at scenes of Christmas 2023 worldwide, beginning with a blessing from Pope Francis, who delivered his annual Christmas message calling for peace from St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Observances in Bethlehem, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, were subdued amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. Many public celebrations were canceled, and one church displayed a Nativity scene showing the baby Jesus wrapped in a keffiyeh and surrounded by rubble.

Britain’s King Charles used his annual Christmas message to encourage caring and compassion, and gathered with members of the royal family for church services at their Sandringham estate.

Ukraine celebrated Christmas on Dec. 25 instead of the traditional Orthodox date of Jan, 7 for the first time, after the government changed the date in a snub to Russia, which invaded the country nearly two years ago.

It was a foggy Christmas morning in New York City.

NORAD, the the joint U.S.-Canadian military monitoring agency, continued its decades-long Christmas tradition of tracking Santa’s journey around the globe.

Some people marked the occasion with a festive but frigid dip in the ocean.

More photos of Christmas celebrations around the world:

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