Slideshow

The Best Pictures of Christmas Across the World, Polar-Bear Mermaids Included

Dec. 26, 2013, 7:07 a.m.

How can the same date on the cal­en­dar, the same hol­i­day, prompt such vary­ing tra­di­tions as jump­ing in­to cold wa­ter with a Santa suit and ar­ran­ging ve­get­ables in the shape of the moun­tain, as well as in­spir­ing sol­emn mo­ments of pray­er?

Well, that’s Christ­mas, truly a world hol­i­day, which ad­apts with the di­versity of loc­a­tions it is cel­eb­rated in.

Here are our fa­vor­ite shots from the day.

A competitor in Christmas dress jumps into the sea during the 104rd Barcelona Traditional Christmas Swimming Cup at the Old Harbour of Barcelona on December 25, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. The Copa Nadal is organised by the Barcelona Swimming Club and involves competitors swimming across some 200 metres of water in the harbour. Launched in 1908 the event has only been suspended three times when the Spanish Civil War interrupted proceedings between 1936 and 1938.  National Journal
A man dressed as Santa Claus rides his bike after the 104rd Barcelona Traditional Christmas Swimming Cup at the Old Harbour of Barcelona. National Journal
Santa Claus holds a beer as he walks with children holding their Christmas presents on Christmas Day at Brighton Beach in Melbourne, Australia. National Journal
A Bondi life-guard performs a hand-stand in front of a giant Christmas Tree at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia. National Journal
Swiss Guards arrive in St. Peter's Square to attend Pope Francis' Christmas Day message from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica National Journal
Pope Francis kisses the crib as he attends Christmas night mass at the St. Peter's Basilica National Journal
Indonesian Javanese Christians children perform traditional dance during the Rainwater ritual known as 'Ngunduh Hujan' as part of community of slope mount merapi celebrate Christmas in Klaten, Central Java, Indonesia. The ritual is performed to grateful for the blessing of rain water that has been given by nature to the community of slope mount merapi for decades. Christmas is a national holiday in Indonesia, despite only eight percent of the population identifying as Christian. National Journal
Indonesian Javanese Christians jostle for the 'Gunungan', of vegetables in the shape of a mountain, during the Rainwater ritual known as 'Ngunduh Hujan' as part of community of slope mount merapi celebrate Christmas.  The ritual is performed to grateful for the blessing of rain water that has been given by nature to the community of slope mount merapi for decades. National Journal
A Christian worshipper prays during the Christmas mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank. Every Christmas pilgrims travel to the church where a gold star embedded in the floor marks the spot where Jesus was believed to have been born. National Journal
Worshipers light candels the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ. National Journal
A young boy dresses as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve on December 24, 2013 in Battambang, Cambodia. National Journal
An Indonesian man wearing a Santa Claus costume hands a gift to a dancer during Christmas celebrations at Hati Kudus Yesus Church in Palasari Village, Jembrana, Bali, Indonesia. National Journal
Indonesian Catholics wearing Balinese traditional outfits light candles while attending a Christmas mass at Hati Kudus Yesus Church in Palasari Village, Jembrana, Bali, Indonesia. National Journal
A woman wearing mask walks past a poster reading 'Merry Christmas' on in Shanghai, China. National Journal
A man canoes along the town centre streets submerged under floodwater checking on people on December 25, 2013 in Yalding, England. Christmas plans have been badly affected for thousands of people after storms across the UK have resulted in flooding, power cuts and significant problems with transport infrastructure. National Journal
People enjoy at Waikiki beach during Christmas day in Honolulu. National Journal
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