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How to pick a pope: Scenes from Pope Benedict’s election

How to pick a pope: Scenes from Pope Benedict’s election

19 photos

Sometime in March – Vatican rules seem to indicate March 15 – an estimated 115 Catholic cardinals will enter the Sistine Chapel to deliberate and elect the next head of the Roman Catholic Church. The proceedings of this papal conclave will be kept secret while crowds gather outside awaiting the announcement of the 266th pontiff. To get a better idea of the proceedings, take a look at these photos from the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

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Sky lanterns, now banned in Md., illuminate winter celebrations

Sky lanterns, now banned in Md., illuminate winter celebrations

18 photos

Sky lanterns, essentially small paper hot air balloons, have grown in popularity recently after being used and made in Asia for years. In some festivals, hundreds of balloons float in the air, illuminating the night sky.

That won’t be the case in Maryland. Responding to increased use of the balloons, Maryland’s fire marshal has explicitly banned sky lanterns, citing their ability to start fires.

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Epiphany (or Three Kings Day) marked by parades, pageants

Epiphany (or Three Kings Day) marked by parades, pageants

22 photos

On Jan. 6, 12 days after Christmas, Christians around the world observe Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. The holiday celebrates the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus. Celebrated in some countries like Christmas, the day brings with it parades and pageants to mark the end of the winter holiday season.

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Troops in Afghanistan celebrate Christmas

Troops in Afghanistan celebrate Christmas

24 photos

Miles away from their families and their homes, troops in Afghanistan held Christmas celebrations at military bases and outposts. Soldiers from the U.S., France, and other countries involved in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) shared each other’s company for a traditional Christmas meal at the Kabul International Airport on Christmas Day. German Bundeswehr soldiers, meanwhile, set up traditional Christmas markets at their military outposts in Afghanistan.

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Yuletide, worldwide: Holiday traditions around the world

Yuletide, worldwide: Holiday traditions around the world

39 photos

Baltimore has a monument lighting, New York has the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and Washington has a national menorah lighting. Around the world, though, holiday traditions range from religious ceremonies (like nine consecutive masses in Manila) to contemporary takes on pagan traditions.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Tell us in the comments.

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‘Mayan apocalypse’ preparations are under way

‘Mayan apocalypse’ preparations are under way

57 photos

Apparently, Doomsday is upon us.

For some time, grim prophesiers have pointed to Dec. 21, 2012, as the date of the apocalypse predicted by the Mayan calendar. Already spread by some Western scholars, the rumors have only increased in number (aided by the Internet) since the last end-of-the-world scare fizzled out on January 1, 2000.
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