Christmas Crazy

Go "Christmas Crazy" with a German-style market, a gingerbread house competition and the brightest light displays, plus the coolest ice sculptures and the most extreme Santas on Earth.

Photos

Kobe, Japan

Kobe, Japan

A tribute to the loss suffered in 1995’s Great Hanshen Earthquake, which left 6,000 dead and much of Kobe in darkness, the city’s annual Luminaire lights up for two weeks every December as a symbol of hope.  960 1280

Marser  

Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain

The last Friday of November, Madrid’s streets light up with overhead displays created by Spain’s best-known designers, architects and artists. The lighting installations vary from street to street.  960 1280

Gabriel Solera  

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen

The proto-amusement park and fantasy gardens in Copenhagen’s center is a wonderland at Christmas when it fills with the holiday market and special lighting. Tivoli's Moorish Palace shines with Christmas decorations. 960 1280

Atlantide Phototravel  

Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia

The giant illuminated Christmas tree in Freedom Square is the centerpiece of the holiday lighting displays in Tbilisi’s town center. Overhead lights adorn numerous streets throughout the area, most notably Rustaveli Avenue.  960 1280

VANO SHLAMOV  

Rockefeller Center, New York City

Rockefeller Center, New York City

Thousands of visitors flood Rockefeller Center for the annual Christmas tree lighting which is televised for an audience of millions. The tree and the surrounding area, including the world-famous ice rink, remain lit 5:30 p.m. to midnight until January 7. 960 1280

STAN HONDA  

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo, Monaco

The Christmas lights in Monte Carlo’s Casino Square are a draw for holiday visitors beginning December 5. The spectacular light show illuminates the square in an array of shifting colors. 960 1280

VALERY HACHE  

Ayala Triangle Gardens, Manila, Philippines

Ayala Triangle Gardens, Manila, Philippines

Running from November through early January, Manilla’s annual Festival of Lights illuminates the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati City. The light and sound show, which has a new theme each year, runs every thirty minutes between 6 and 10 p.m. 960 1280

Pacific Press  

Medellin, Colombia

Medellin, Colombia

Beginning December 7, which is known as the Night of the Candles, Medellin, Colombia lights up with holiday displays. The Medellin River area is the most elaborately decorated--and visited--light display area in the country.  960 1280

AFP  

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

One of the most popular features of Melbourne’s Christmas Festival, which runs between November 27 and December 25 each year, are the colorful, dynamic and illuminated images projected onto Melbourne Town Hall between 9 and 10:45 p.m. nightly.  960 1280

Nigel Killeen#113409  

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Dubbed “Miracle on 34th Street,” the over-the-top lighting displays along a row of houses on 34th Street in Baltimore’s Hamden neighborhood draw crowds of spectators each December.  960 1280

MLADEN ANTONOV  

Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy

In Sicily, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as The Vigil, is the typical Christmas Eve meal that features a variety of seafood dishes. 960 1280

Jupiterimages  

Venezuela

Venezuela

Traditional Venezuelan hallacas, which are similar to Mexican tamales, are served around Christmas. Families gather for the task of preparing large batches of the savory meat stews stuffed inside cornmeal dough steamed in plantain leaves. A salad of diced carrots, potatoes and mayonnaise is a typical accompaniment. 960 1280

camacho9999  

South Korea

South Korea

On New Year’s Day, South Koreans typically celebrate with a traditional meal of Duk Gook, a rice cake soup. 960 1280

TongRo Images Inc.  

Germany

Germany

The traditional Christmas meal in Germany includes roast goose with dumplings, red cabbage and stollen, a festive bread made with dried fruits and sprinkled with powdered sugar. 960 1280

GMVozd  

France

France

The French celebrate Christmas with a réveillon (long dinner) that features the most luxurious foods including oysters, langoustines and foie gras. 960 1280

Maica  

Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca, Spain

On Christmas day in Mallorca, the classic dish is Escaldums de Nadal, a stew of turkey or suckling pig, with dried fruits served in an almond-y sauce. 960 1280

PaulRobles  

The Phillipines

The Phillipines

During Paso (Christmas), Filipinos enjoy lechon (whole roasted pig) or jamon dulce (sweet ham) as part of their Christmas feasts.  960 1280

Sofia Moro  

Sweden

Sweden

Sweden’s Christmas Julbord, is a smörgåsbord featuring herring, ham, meatballs, sausages, breads, cheeses, and cabbage. 960 1280

Andersson, Staffan  

Poland

Poland

In Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania, the traditional Christmas dinner is a 12-dish spread that includes, herring, sauerkraut, mushrooms and dumplings. A festive red borscht with mushroom dumplings is traditional in Poland. 960 1280

Teresa Kasprzycka  

Israel

Israel

The typical Chanukkah dinner in Israel includes latkes, potato pancakes deep fried in oil, in a nod to the Chanukah story in which oil that should have lasted only one night instead lasted eight. 960 1280

zia_shusha  

Cuba

Cuba

As in other Latin countries, Cubans celebrate Noche Bueno or Christmas Eve, with a feast that centers on a whole roast pig. Accompaniments include black beans and rice and fried yuca and plantains. 960 1280

dtimiraos  

Leicester, England

Leicester, England

The Festival of Lights, as Diwali is known, celebrates the victory of good over evil, and is India's biggest and most important holiday of the year. Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate the 5-day festival worldwide as well. The largest Diwali celebration outside of India takes place in Leicester, England’s Golden Mile section. 960 1280

Reuters/Darren Staples   

Paramaribo, Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname

Young boys chant prayers in celebration of Diwali at a children’s orphanage in Suriname’s capital city of Paramaribo. The South American country is home to a sizable population of Indian origin; nearly 40% of Suriname’s population descend from 19th-century contract workers from India. 960 1280

Reuters/Ranu Abhelakh  

Paramaribo, Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname

Children in Suriname dress up as Hindu goddesses on the eve of Diwali. On the left is Parvati, the goddess of power who gives life energy to all. She's also said to engage in an eternal game of winning and losing with her husband Lord Shiva. In recognition of that cosmic roughhousing, gambling (or playing cards) during Diwali is considered auspicious. Or maybe just a good excuse to gamble. 960 1280

Reuters/Ranu Abhelakh   

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Young women put the finishing touches on a rangoli in a neighborhood courtyard. The decorative design, created with materials such as colored rice, flour and sand, as well as flower petals, symbolizes a sacred welcoming area for Hindu deities -- and is a common sight during Diwali. In the western Indian state of Gujarat, the day following Diwali also marks the New Year. 960 1280

Reuters/Amit Dave   

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Different regions and faiths of India incorporate various narratives into the celebration. In Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In North India, Lord Rama, after a 14-year exile. In South India, Lord Krishna, after his defeat of the demon Narakasura. In Jainism, the nirvana of Lord Mahavira. In Sikhism, the sixth Sikh guru's release from prison. The unifying theme: the victory of good over evil. 960 1280

Reuters/Amit Dave  

Amritsar, Punjab

Amritsar, Punjab

Indian Sikhs light candles at their spiritual center, the Golden Temple, in Amritsar, India, for Diwali. Sikhs celebrate Diwali to mark the release from prison of their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, along with 52 other political prisoners, by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1619. Sikhs celebrated the return of Guru Hargobind by lighting diyas around the Golden Temple. The tradition continues today. 960 1280

Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images  

The White House

The White House

President Obama extends greetings to Sri Narayanachar Digalakote, a Hindu priest and Sanskrit scholar, after lighting an oil lamp for Diwali at the White House. The holiday was first celebrated at the White House in 2003, with a public liaison officer hosting Indian Americans. Six years later, Barack Obama became the first US president to serve as Diwali host. 960 1280

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images  

Felicity, Trinidad

Felicity, Trinidad

Handmade diyas, or earthen oil lamps, add a personal touch to households celebrating Diwali. Here, a boy prepares a lamp at his family home in Trinidad-Tobago. The largest Hindu festival in the Caribbean nation, Diwali is celebrated with the symbolic lighting of diyas, each meant to dispel darkness. 960 1280

Reuters/Andrea De Silva  

Varanasi, India

Varanasi, India

A young woman lights an earthen lamp on the steps leading to the Ganges River. Every year, 15 days after Diwali, the steps leading to “Ganga” are adorned with more than 1 million lights in tribute to Hinduism’s most sacred river. The celebration, known as Dev Deepavali (meaning “light festival of gods”), is led by Hindu devotees in the city by its banks, Varanasi. 960 1280

Reuters/Jitendra Prakas  

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A Hindu devotee's baby is placed on a temple floor for good luck during Diwali celebrations in the small town of Bangi, near Maylaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Hindus make up roughly 7% of Malaysia’s population of 25 million. However, Diwali is recognized in the predominantly Muslim country as an official holiday. 960 1280

Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad   

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is home to a sizable Hindu community, as much as 12% of the population. Here, Hindu devotees pray during Diwali at the Shivm Kovi temple in Sri Lanka’s cultural capital of Colombo. Alongside India, the island country recognizes Diwali as an official holiday. 960 1280

Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatt   

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