Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

In a global display of festive spirit, people adorned Santa caps across diverse landscapes, from beaches to ski slopes, yet the shadow of conflict loomed large. Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cast a somber backdrop over the cherished holiday.

Santa outfits dotted the globe, from Australian surfers to cyclists in New Delhi, but the joy was tempered by geopolitical tensions. Pope Francis initiated global celebrations with a call for peace during Christmas Eve mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica, acknowledging Bethlehem’s strife, where traditional festivities were scaled down amid the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In Syria, churches scaled back celebrations, standing in solidarity with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Ukraine, marking Christmas on December 25 for the first time, distanced itself from Moscow’s traditions as it continues to grapple with the aftermath of Russia’s invasion.

In regions untouched by war, people reveled in the holiday spirit. Sydney’s residents and tourists, despite the Southern Hemisphere’s summer heat, sported Santa hats, highlighting a global contrast in Christmas merriment against the backdrop of conflict.

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