Tag Archives: Harbin

HARBIN ICE AND SNOW FESTIVAL 2020

WHAT: HARBIN ICE AND SNOW FESTIVAL 2020
WHY: ICE AND SNOW SCULPTURE FESTIVAL (FEATURING FIREWORKS)
WHEN: 5TH JANUARY (RUNS FOR 1 MONTH PLUS – DEPENDING ON WEATHER
COST: £22.00 APPROXIMATELY (200 YUAN)

The incredibly pretty Harbin Snow and Ice Festival started back in the late nineteen sixties but didn’t get fully established until 1985 and has successfully run annually since.

It is a gargantuan task to organise. A team of around 10,000 workers cut blocks of ice from the frozen Songhua River every year to create the magical ice world. They are referred to as farmers as they cut, hoist and collect the ice needed for the sculpted perfections created once they are on site.

Ice and Snow Sculpture in Harbin, China

Every year, teams of men go along to carve the ice for the Harbin Festival and due to the arduous nature of the job, the fact that the working conditions are out in -20 degree temperatures and frankly, it is hard graft, many say that they will not be returning but, come the harvest time, they return year on year. The team cut around 4 million cubic feet of ice and it takes around 15 days to build this frozen kingdom.

The residents of Harbin (its nickname is Ice City) number around 5 million so the huge influx of visitors swells the numbers to around double each week, bringing much-needed funds to the local economy. Living in one of the coldest places on earth, life is hard in Harbin during the winter months but in the Summer, it is as pleasant as anywhere else in Northern China.

Fireworks in Harbin (哈尔滨)

The site covers an area the size of Hyde Park in London with towering ice palaces and incredibly detailed sculptures it is the biggest event of its size in the World.

As well as the artistic excellence of the very gifted sculptors, there are loads of winter sports events on offer:

  • SLEDGING
  • ICE HOCKEY
  • ICE FOOTBALL
  • SPEED SKATING
  • ALPINE SKI-ING COMPETITIONS
  • SWIMMING (YEAH, RIGHTY HO -30 DEGREES, OF COURSE, I’S LOVE TO GO FOR A SWIM!!)

It is ultimately a competition so the ice and snow sculptures will be judged but some of the detail is outstanding.

Like any other city, it has the usual smattering of retail outlets and souvenir goods stores. The biggest saleable items are Russian themed for the most part:

  • RUSSIAN DOLLS
  • GINSENG
  • SMOKED SALMON
  • LAQUERWARE
  • VODKA (GOES WITHOUT SAYING)
  • ZHEZHI (CHINESE PAPER ART)
  • MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
  • TRADITIONAL WOODEN AND HANDMADE TOYS
  • FURS (PERSONALLY, I THINK THEY LOOK BETTER ON THE ANIMALS BUT HEY HO)
  • AGATE – SEMI PRECIOUS STONE
  • BLACK GOLD (YES, IT DOES EXIST – I GOOGLED IT!)

The fireworks take place almost nightly so if your travels take you to far-flung places, why not check out somewhere unique.

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HARBIN ICE FESTIVAL 2018

WHAT: HARBIN ICE FESTIVAL 2018
WHY: ICE/SNOW SCULPTURE FESTIVAL
WHERE: HARBIN, CHINA
WHEN: OPEN NOW BUT OFFICIAL DATE IS 5TH JANUARY 2018

2018 marks the 34th annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China’s Heilongjiang Province and it continues to get bigger and better year on year as the best in the world in the fascinating art of Ice and Snow sculpture, get to display their wares.

5th January sees the official opening event and you can expect to see the beautiful fireworks breaking over the illuminated Ice City which is a stunning sight to see. Being in China of course, the pyro is absolutely outstanding and again continues to thrill young and old alike.

The ‘theme’ this year is ‘Ice Snow Blooming Garden, Fantastic World’ which will feature live theatrical performances, ice and snow amusement world and of course FIREWORKS.

Fireworks in Harbin (哈尔滨)

The sculptures represent everything from architectural wonders both from China and the rest of the World to whimsical snow fairies and snow maidens, dragons and all manner of other animals.

The people of Harbin are a hardy lot but given that they are only 200km from the Arctic Circle, it is no surprise that the temperatures in the winter here drop to -30 degrees centigrade but at the moment, it is a clement -21 degrees (lol).

The original Snow and Ice Festival began in 1963 and has continued to grow in both size and popularity ever since. The ice blocks are cut in chunks from the Songhua River and around 180,00 cubic meters of it are used to create ice castles and even the Kremlin to exacting detail.

The event which pulls in 1 million visitors annually is not for the feint hearted nor indeed for anyone with an aversion to the colder temperatures but this enchanting event is firmly on my bucket list.

Opening tomorrow evening with a huge parade followed by fireworks here is a look at last year’s event.

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Harbin Ice Festival China 2014

Here in the UK we are used to the furore surrounding the bad weather that we are expecting but despite this, we still manage to get caught out every time and a couple of inches of snow brings the UK to a complete standstill.

Over in China however, as temperatures reach a frightening -30 Celsius the fun really begins. There are lots of events to enjoy whilst visiting the festival including the following and more besides:

• Ice and Snow-world
• International snow sculpture art exhibition
• Ice lantern art fair
• Winter swimming competition
• Ice hotels
• Dog sledding
• Snow safari to see the Siberian tigers
• Ice skating
• Ski-ing
• Snow mobile racing
• Romantic sleigh ride in the snow
• Ice snow poem-reciting party
• Ice photographic exhibition
• Ice movie festival
• Ice snow wedding ceremonies
• Firework display

The surrounding area’s all converge on the Ice Festival as there are special competitions for all the children in the area, including all the age groups from primary to college/university students too.

The most popular attractions are Zaolin Park’s Ice festival which has some spectacular structures, beautiful ice lanterns and waterfalls. There are also some beautiful scale copies of European landmarks and ice slides which are certain to keep the kids entertained.

This festival is themed unsurprisingly as ‘Ice and Snow City Harbin’ and the event attracts a massive number of visitors annually to this fantastic winter wonderland resort and the evening is capped off with a fantastic FIREWORK DISPLAY from the country that brought pyro to the world, they are nothing short of spectacular.

The event officially starts on 5th January 2014 but it is open from late December to visitors.

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