Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

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Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Harbin Ice and Snow World.JPG
During the 2014 festival
Genre Winter festival
Dates January 5 through February and March
Location(s) Harbin, China
Years active 1963–
Website
www.isharbin.com
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Harbin Ice Festival.jpg
Harbin Ice Festival
Chinese 哈尔滨国际冰雪节

The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival (Chinese: 哈尔滨国际冰雪节; pinyin: Hā'ěrbīn Guójì Bīngxuě Jié) is an annual winter festival that takes place in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China, and is the largest ice and snow festival in the world.

Officially, the festival starts on January 5 and lasts one month. However, exhibits often open earlier and stay longer, weather permitting. While there are ice sculptures throughout the city, there are two main exhibition areas:

  • Sun Island is a recreational area on the opposite side of the Songhua River from the city, which features enormous snow sculptures
  • Ice and Snow World is an area open during at night which features illuminated full size buildings made from blocks of 2–3' thick ice directly taken from the Songhua River.

During the festival, there are ice lantern park touring activities held in many parks in the city. Winter activities in the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing, winter-swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.

Harbin is located in Northeast China and receives cold winter wind from Siberia. The average temperature in summer is 21.2 °C (70.2 °F), and –16.8 °C (1.8 °F) in winter. Annual lows of -35 °C (–31 °F) are not uncommon.

Other large ice and snow festivals include Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway's Holmenkollen Ski Festival.[1]

History[edit]

The festival originated in Harbin's traditional ice lantern show and garden party that takes place in winter, which began in 1963. It was interrupted for a number of years during the Cultural Revolution, but has been resumed and was announced as an annual event at Zhaolin Park on January 5 in 1985.

In 2001, the Harbin Ice Festival was merged with Heilongjiang's International Ski Festival and got its new formal name, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

In 2007, the festival featured the Canadian theme, in memoriam of Canadian doctor Norman Bethune. It was also a Guinness Record of the largest snow sculpture: 250 metres long, 28 feet (8.5 m) high, using over 13,000 cubic metres of snow. The composition consisted of two parts: "Niagara Falls" and "Crossing the Bering Strait" (the latter depicting the migration of the First Nations).

In 2014, the festival celebrated its 30th anniversary with the theme "50-Year Ice Snow, Charming Harbin".[2]

Construction[edit]

Swing saws are used to carve ice into blocks, taken from the frozen surface of the Songhua River.[3] Chisels, ice picks and various types of saws are then used by ice sculptors to carve out large scaled ice sculptures,[4] many of them intricately designed[3] and worked on all day and night prior to the commencement of the festival. Deionised water can also be used, producing ice blocks as transparent as glass to make clear sculptures rather than translucent ones.[5] Multicoloured lights[6] are also used to give colour to ice, creating variations on sculptured spectacles when lit up especially at night. Some ice sculptures made in previous years include: buildings and monuments of different architectural types and styles, figures including animals people and mythical creatures, slippery dips or ice slides and lanterns.[7][8] Apart from winter recreational activities available in Harbin, these exquisitely detailed, mass-produced ice sculptures are the main draw card in attracting tourists around the world to the festival.[6]

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2010 
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2010 
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2010 
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2010 
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2010 
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2010 
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2010 
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2010 
Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival 2013 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Harbin (Heilongjiang) City Information". hktdc.com. 28 Jan 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "The 30th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival 2014". Harbin Ice. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b AFP (13 November 2008). "Ice is money in China's coldest city". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  4. ^ BBC (6 January 2007). "In pictures: Harbin ice festival". BBC News. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  5. ^ Zeitvogel, K. (18 December 2009). "Chinese-sculpted winter wonderland in Washington". AFP/Google. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Strum, J. (22 December 2009). "Northern Chinese city embraces cold and ice". The State Journal, Frankfort, Kentucky. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  7. ^ Taylor, A. (9 January 2009). "Icy days and nights". Boston.com/AP/Getty Images/AFP/Reuters. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  8. ^ Mullen, N.; Lin, C-C. (2005). "Chinese Folk Art, Festivals, and Symbolism in Everyday Life". Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology/University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 

External links[edit]