Christmas is a very important holiday in the Roman Catholic Calendar. Christmas celebrated the birth of Christ. Christmas masses are celebrated in the Vatican with the Pope. These masses are celebrated in St. Peter’s Square or in St. Peter’s Basilica. The location of the mass depends on the type of celebration and the expected number of people who will be attending the mass. St Peter's Square can contain up to 80,000 people. Due to the large number of participants Christmas masses cannot be held at the St. Peter’s Basilica. Christmas Masses are very large as many tourists, clergymen and Roman Curia wish to attend; therefore they are celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.
If you wish to attend a Christmas mass in the Vatican you will require a ticket. The best way to get them is to make arrangements from your country. You should send a fax 2-6 months in advance directly to the Vatican. The tickets for mass at the Vatican are always free. In most cases, the Holy See issues different types of tickets. There are tickets for Cardinals, Governors and Diplomats, special guests and then for the public.
However, having a ticket is not a guarantee that you will be able to attend the mass. Sometimes there are too many people and you may be denied access to the mass even though you have got tickets. In order to avoid being denied access and attend the mass, it is advised to get there early. The earlier you arrive at the Vatican, the higher the chance that you may attend the mass at St. Peter’s Square. In order to get a good place you should make sure that you arrive at the Vatican at least 1-3 hours before the beginning of the mass.
There is a lot of security at the entrance to the Vatican during any mass and everyone will need to pass through security scanners which are conducted by the Swiss Guards. Attending a Christmas mass in the Vatican is an uplifting experience during which you will be able to see the Pope and celebrate with a huge crowd. If you can, get yourself a ticket. Remember that there is a dress code for the Vatican Mass. Shorts, miniskirts or bare shoulders are not allowed. If you don't dress by the dress code you will be turned away by the security guards.