As the beginning of the Holiday season, Pope Benedict XVI light an oil lamp for the peace in, outside of his window, in front of a giant manger in the San Pedro Square.
Christmas Eve Mass, which used to be held at midnight as is the tradition, was brought forward to 9pm (GMT) to avoid the sleepless of the Pope, who is 84. The mass was held at the Basilica of St. Pedro and broadcast to about 1,100 million Catholics.
The Christmas festivities will continue on Sunday with the solemn blessing of the Pope and his message “Urbi et Orbi” (to Rome and the world) and greets the faithful in dozens of languages.
As night fell, thousands of believers attended the opening of giant birth, accompanied by popular songs from Italy and elsewhere.
The next weekend, Pope Benedict will preside over a service New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Mass, followed by Mass of Epiphany on January 6 and the baptism of infants in the Sistine Chapel after two days.