Holidays around the world
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Celebrating the holidays around the world

Everland Amusement park employees in Yongin, South Korea dressed as Santa Claus ride a roller coaster during a promotional event to coincide with the upcoming Christmas holiday. (Lee Jin-man, Associated Press)
South Korea’s Ewha Women’s University students dressed in Santa Claus perform during a ‘Thanks 2007 Welcome 2008' event to celebrate Christmas in Seoul. Christmas is one of the biggest holidays celebrated in South Korea with Christians forming over half of the population. (CHOI WON-SUK, AFP/Getty Images)
Filipino Policemen exchange their standard ballcaps for Santa Claus caps as they prepare to conduct foot patrol around commercial centers to ensure the safety of shoppers as Manila locals prepare for the Yuletide Season. (ROMEO GACAD, AFP/Getty Images)
People stroll Tokyo’s Shiodome district decorated with Christmas illuminations titled “Blue Ocean.” About 300,000 LED bulbs were spread all over a plaza of the office complex near Tokyo Bay, marking the fifth anniversary of its opening. (KOJI SASAHARA, Associated Press)
A shopkeeper assembles a model of Santa Claus with a saxophone for sale at a shop in Hanoi, Vietnam. Although it’s a Christian holiday, Christmas is becoming more familiar to residents in the cities of this mostly Buddhist country. (HOANG DINH NAM, AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli family in the West Bank settlement of Elazar lights candles on the second night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The eight-day Jewish festival began December 4 at sundown and celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabee rebellion. (MENAHEM KAHANA, AFP/Getty Images)
India’s Baharatantyam de Abhinaya Group-New Delhi performs classic dance during the Christmas festival in the city of Byblos in North Beirut, Lebanon. (WAEL HAMZEH, xx)
Khaled Rishmawi, 21, dones his Santa Clause uniform in front of a local toy shop in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Khaled is one of six Santa Clauses who will deliver presents to families around Bethlehem and the nearby Christian villages of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour on Christmas. (NASSER SHIYOUKHI, Associated Press)
A European graffiti artist paints a Christmas tree encircled by a depiction of Israel’s controversial separation barrier in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. (MUSA AL-SHAER, AFP/Getty Images)
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert claps after lighting a candle at a ceremony marking the first night of the Hanukkah festival at a military base near West Bank city of Nablus. “Hanukkah”, which means “dedication,” is also referred to as “The Festival of Lights.” (OLEG POPOV, AFP/Getty Images)
Infantry soldiers from the elite Egoz unit take a break from operational duty to eat jelly donuts. In Jewish tradition, it’s customary to eat the doughnuts and other foods fried in oil during the eight-day festival of Hanukkah. (Getty Images, Getty Images)
Diver Andre Weiland sets up a Santa Claus figure at the Atlantic basin of of Dresden, Germany’s SeaLife Aquarium. The ceramics statue will stay at the aquarium until mid-January. (NORBERT MILLAUER, AFP/Getty Images)
A glogg booth rotates in front of the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) in Dresden, Germany. The booth was modeled on a Christmas pyramid from the German region of the Erzgebirge. (RALF HIRSCHBERGER, xx)
Rabbis watch a giant Menorah being mounted for the Hannukah celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin, Germany. An additional candle is lit each night, until all are aglow on the last night of the festival. (Wolfgang Kumm, xx)
Employees of a Berlin, Germany florist shop push a barrow with Christmas trees over the street. The Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana) is the most favored Christmas tree in Germany, due to its intense green, long durability and pleasant fragrance. (SEBASTIAN WILLNOW, AFP/Getty Images)
People pass by the festive decorated fountain in front of the Alten Oper in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (BORIS ROESSLER, xx)
Chef Beate Woelstein of Munich’s Grosvenor House Hotel stands next to her Christmas gingerbread creation of London landmarks, including Park Lane, (foreground), the London Eye, (left rear), Trafalgar Square, (center rear), and the Palace of Westminster, (rear right). The model took two chefs over 300 hours to create, using over 50 kg of gingerbread dough. (ALASTAIR GRANT, Associated Press)
The Swiss Embassy in Berlin is illuminated in white and blue colors displaying stars and a writing “Switzerland and Zurich wish Merry Christmas.” Swiss artist Gerry Hofstetter developed the light installation with different designs to promote Switzerland for June’s European Football Championship. (THEO HEIMANN, AFP/Getty Images)
Slomo Koeves (R) and another Jewish dancer after the first candle on a menorah was lit in a square in front of the Western Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary. (LAJOS SOOS, xx)
Linzi Stoppard poses in the ultimate Christmas and New Year’s party dress at the Intercontinental Hotel in London. Why is it the ultimate? The dress is made almost entirely from Lindt Chocolate’s Lindor Balls and Swarovski Crystal. (GARETH CATTERMOLE, Getty Images)
A waxwork representing Australian actress Nicole Kidman was unveiled December 5 at Madame Tussaud’s in London. The figure is part of the museum’s new winter wonderland Blush Zone. (MATT DUNHAM, Associated Press)
Workers erect a massive fir tree from northern Italy’s alpine Val Badia valley at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square. The approximately 30 meters (90 feet) tall tree is of the Picea Abies species and will be adorned with 2,000 luminous decorations and lit. (PLINIO LEPRI, Associated Press)
Children play on an artificial ice luge track set up for Christmas outside the Paris, France town hall. (JACQUES BRINON, Associated Press)
Over 15 millions color bulbs decorate the city of Medellin, Colombia. This traditional Christmas lighting turns the river crossing the city into a multicolor scenery recreating the world’s Christmas customs with light designs. (EDGAR DOMINGUEZ, xx)
PS 1 second grade students play with dreidels and chocolate gold coins after lighting the menorah at the Eldridge St. Synagogue in New York City. The class was there to learn about Hannukah and also about the newly restored synagogue, which originally opened its doors in 1887. (STEPHEN CHERNIN, Getty Images)
A child watches as Aaron Spice of Marinette, Wis. hauls a Christmas tree to the nearby home of a customer in Chicago, Ill. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans are expected to purchase about 30 million Christmas trees this season. (Scott Olson, Getty Images)
A 30-foot cedar Christmas tree is displayed after lighting ceremonies at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark. (Danny Johnston, Associated Press)
Serena Hash, left, and her friend Jakel King lay on the sidewalk in front of dozens of spectators in downtown Boise, Id. waiting for the state Christmas tree to be lit. (TROY MABEN, Associated Press)
Eight year-old Itzamaya Nunez of San Jose, and Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoy the State Capitol Christmas Tree after turning on the lights during a ceremony in Sacramento. (STEVE YEATER, Associated Press)