Christmas Day across the world: How different countries are celebrating - in pictures

Festive celebrations, from Iraq to Australia

Matt Broomfield
Sunday 25 December 2016 13:15

A host of varied celebrations have been taking place across the world to mark Christmas Day.

The first places to have entered into Christmas were Samoa and Kiribati's appositely-named Christmas Island.

A whole day later, Samoan Islands on the other side of the international Date Line will finally enter their own Christmas Day.

Festivities across the globe include people gathering around lit Christmas trees in war-torn Syria.

Meanwhile, the crew of the Hanjin Scarlet container ship, which has been stranded since August, took delivery of some festive cheer. The sailors are stuck on a ship just off the Canadian coast, caught in a battle between owner and creditors, but were brought a roast pig and other treats and gifts by sympathetic locals.

In Australia, people on Bondi Beach stripped off to nothing but Santa hats and their surfing costumes. It's currently 23°C there, and could reach 35°C later in the week.

It's the hottest ever 25 December in England, while Storm Conor brings flood alerts and wind warnings across Scotland and the North West. Some parts of England will hit 15°C, even as snow is expected to fall in Scotland later today.

Red skies, said to come before storms, were snapped as the country woke up on Christmas Eve.

In inflation-stricken Venezuela, presents were distributed to children, including nearly 4 million toys seized from a private company accused of price-gouging.

The government in Sri Lanka, meanwhile, splurged $80,000 on a 73 metre high Christmas tree, which they are touting as the world's largest.

People snapped selfies in front of the tree, which is decorated with more than 1 million natural pine cones painted red, gold, green and silver and 600,000 LED bulbs.

Worshippers in Bethlehem, where Jesus Christ is said to have been born, also took photos of themselves as they prayed and sung hymns in the Church of the Nativity.

Pictures also show Christians in a recently-liberated town near the Isis stronghold of Mosul, in Iraq, celebrating Christmas in their own church for the first time since 2013. A new cross and a plastic Christmas tree have been erected at the church, which was desecrated by militants.

Meanwhile, English and German soldiers stationed in Afghanistan played a game of football, in commemoration of the Truce match in 1914 when opposing soldiers in World War 1 left their trenches for a kick-about.

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