1. The waving panda cub

Ken Bohn / AP

A giant panda cub stretches out and shows his belly while animal care staff check him over during his weekly exam at the San Diego Zoo.

2. The son who reunited with his mother after seeing her photo online


Olga Hernandez hugs her son Gabriel Salmeron Hernandez in Mexico. Salmeron Hernandez, who had disappeared during his journey through Mexico to reach the U.S., was reunited with his mother after seeing her photo on the Internet with a group of parents traveling through the area.

3. The dog who reunited with his human after getting lost in a hurricane


Fred Hollier is reunited with his dog T-Chen, who got lost during Hurricane Isaac, in Louisiana.

4. The little boy who reunited with his father after his tour of Afghanistan

Marc Piscotty / AP

Gavin Shaw flashes a smile as he hugs his father, Master Sergeant Adam Shaw, during a Welcome Home Ceremony in Fort Carson, Colorado. The soldiers had been deployed for nine months in various regions of Afghanistan.

5. And the family that reunited after months apart


Jeremy Hudson hugs his wife as his 10-year-old daughter Averie holds a “welcome home” sign at Fort Stewart in Georgia.

6. The boy who loved his donkey


An Afghan boy stands next to his donkey cart outside a timber market in Kabul.

7. The sailor and his wife

Natacha Pisarenko / AP

An Argentine sailor greets a relative as he arrives in Buenos Aires airport. Nearly 300 navy cadets arrived in Argentina’s capital from Ghana on an Air France charter hired by the government after Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez refused to negotiate the release of the Argentine naval sailing ship, Libertad. The ship had been held in a port outside Ghana’s capital when a Ghana court ruled to detain the vessel as collateral for Argentina’s unpaid debts.

8. The newlywed frogs

STRDEL/AFP / Getty Images

Two frogs are married by Hindu farmers in order to please the Rain Gods.

9. The space geeks who made it to Mars

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Curiosity team members celebrate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, after the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars.

10. China’s first female astronaut


Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut, waves next to her comrade Jing Haipeng as she comes out of the re-entry capsule of China’s Shenzhou 9 spacecraft.

11. The little girl and the statues

Andy Wong / AP

A child plays in between two cartoon military statues on display outside a shopping mall in Beijing, China.

12. The unlikely dinner guest


A shopkeeper greets U.S. Army Captain Kelvington in southern Afghanistan. Afghan and U.S. Army soldiers were invited to dinner with one of the local elders in Senjaray.

13. The woman about to see her husband

Mark Reis / AP

Chloe DeLay takes off running to be reunited with her husband, Sgt. John DeLay.

14. The nose-nuzzling politicans

Michael Bradley/AFP / Getty Images

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, shares a traditional Maori welcome called a “hongi” upon arriving in Auckland, New Zealand.

15. The nose-nuzzling little kids

Kevin Frayer / AP

A boy leans rubs noses with a girl in Delhi, India.

16. The Marshmallow Kid and the POTUS


U.S. President Barack Obama reacts as Joey Hudy of Phoenix, Arizona, launches a marshmallow from his Extreme Marshmallow Cannon in the State Dining Room of the White House during the second White House Science Fair in Washington.

17. The cruise ship survivor and his family

NOAH SEELAM/AFP / Getty Images

Jonathan Pathri, a survivor of the capsized Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, is greeted by his parents on his arrival in India.

18. The North Korean war veteran reunion

KCNA / Reuters

North Korean war veterans greet each other on War Victory Day.

19. This perfect wedding photo

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

A newlywed couple poses for wedding photos on a street corner.

20. This perfect Indian monsoon photo

Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP

Two girls laugh as a soaked rickshaw driver transports vegetables during a monsoon.

21. The people watching the final beam being lifted up the new World Trade Center

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

People watch as the last steel beam of the World Trade Center, signed by members of the crews that helped build the tower, be hoisted 977 feet to the tower.

22. The baby saved from the flood

Rex Features / Top Photo Corporation

Firefighters rescue a baby from a stranded bus after it became trapped in floodwater after heavy rain.

23. The boy and his cat

Hannah Potes / AP

David Nyssen holds his family cat Baby close after being reunited with him at Michigan State University’s Veterinary Clinic. Baby was shot in the head with a crossbow in the Nyssen family’s neighborhood in Jackson, Michigan.

24. This military couple

Mike Nesper / AP

About 300 men and women of the 4th Brigade Combat Team reunite with family and friends in Anchorage, Alaska.

25. Also this military couple

Matt Cardy / Getty Images

A soldier is reunited with his loved ones in Wiltshire, England.

26. The therapy mini-horse and the old man

Shawn Rocco / AP

Jack Cutler smiles as he pets Tootsie, a miniature horse, at the Total Life adult day care center in Cary, North Carolina. With their calm personalities and small size, Tootsie and her companion Carmen, not seen, work well as therapy animals.

27. The (fancy) therapy goat and the old lady

Kristin Sheff / AP

Jean Clausen cuddles with Gigi the goat, a therapy animal.

28. The kids at the 7-5-3 festival

AFP / Getty Images

Children in traditional dresses are all smiles at Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine to mark the 7-5-3 festival. The 7-5-3 festival celebrates when children reach the ages of three, five, and seven.

29. Ramon and his “R” tooth smile

Jorge Silva / Reuters

An miner named Ramon flashes a gold letter “R” on his tooth as he smiles after working in a mine in the southern state of Bolivar. In the triangle that connects Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana, a large number of illegal gold and diamond prospectors dream of changing their lives overnight by finding a huge bonanza.

30. The dancing Pearl Harbor veterans

Hugh Gentry / Reuters

Pearl Harbor survivors Victor Miranda smiles as Paul Kennedy and Mickey Ganitch dance to music from the ’40s era before the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

31. The gold medalist

Michael Steele / Getty Images

Mohamed Farah of Great Britain celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win gold.

32. Happy Holi people


A couple smiles with their faces covered in coloured powder during Holi festival celebrations in Kuala Lumpur. Holi, also known as the festival of colors, celebrates the death of the Demoness Holika, and the love between Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha.

33. The Washingtonians celebrating their historic gay marriage victory

Ted S. Warren / AP

Revelers display U.S. and gay pride flags as they celebrate early election returns favoring Washington state Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marriage.

34. This happy couple just married in Seattle


Corianton Hale and Keith Bacon embrace after becoming the first couple to get married at Seattle City Hall in Seattle, Washington, on Dec. 9. Washington made history last month as one of three U.S. states where marriage rights were extended to same-sex couples by popular vote.

35. This Paralympian

Christopher Price / Getty Images

Richard Oribe of Spain celebrates after winning the silver in the men’s 100m freestyle in the Paralympic Games.

36. These Paralympians, too

Clive Davis / Getty Images

Katherine Downie, Ellie Cole, and Maddison Elliot of Australia celebrate as teammate Jacqueline Freney wins them the gold medal in the women’s 4×100m freestyle, also in the Paralympic Games.

37. The man who thought he lost his dog

Gary Cosby Jr. / AP

Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in East Limestone, Arkansas.

38. The Sandy survivors who thought they lost their family history


Rosemary McDermott and her husband opened a safe containing a family genealogy in the Breezy Point section of Queens. They salvaged the safe from the basement of Rosemary’s mother’s home after Superstorm Sandy.

39. The ridiculously happy polar bear

Jeff Chiu / AP

For Pike’s 30th birthday, the San Francisco Zoo brought in some snow. Her face says it all.

40. This couple that finally got their wedding photo after 88 years

Rex Features

A centenarian couple who have been married for 88 years have their wedding photos taken. Wu Conghan, 101, and his wife Wu Songshi, 103, married in 1924, and have been together for almost 90 years. When they got married, there wasn’t the option of wedding photographs.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/mjs538/happiest-photos-of-2012

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