The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is the world’s greatest ice and snow festival. It is an annual winter festival held in Harbin China.
History of the Festival
Since 1963, the Chinese city of Harbin always celebrated an ice show and garden party during winter. The celebrations were stopped for a few years during the Cultural Revolution in China but resumed in 1983. The festival gained prominence in 1985 after the city officials had realized the festival was popular among the locals as well as international visitors. The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival has been held every year starting on January 5th and goes on for a month. In the year 2001, the Harbin Ice Festival merged with the International Ski Festival held in Heilongjiang, China to form the grand winter celebration it is today.
The Venue for the Festival
The Ice and Snow Festival is a citywide celebration that takes place in the entire city of Harbin. The festival area covers a vast 750,000 square meters. Some of the favorite venues include Sun Island, Songhua River, Stalin Park, and Zhaolin Park. The Songhua River is a favorite site for visitors who skate and cycle on the frozen river. At the Zhaolin Park, towering sculptures and iconic snow creatures are on display. The awe-inspiring snow creations are designed by master sculptors who start the work several months before the festival begins. The sculptors cut out gigantic ice blocks from the Songhua River which they use to make beautiful castles, enormous dragons, and super-sized goddesses. The ice sculptures maintain their form due to the negative temperatures experience in Harbin during winter. Some of the remarkable sculptures that have been made in the past include an Egyptian Sphinx, a massive steam train, and a giant pagoda.
Access to Harbin
The Chinese city of Harbin can be accessed through various means. The most common ways to reach the city are by plane and by rail. The Harbin Airport provides access to the city from more than a dozen destinations inside and outside China. Additionally, Harbin has an efficient railway line connection to most Chinese cities.
Similar Ice and Snow Festivals
In addition to the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, there are similar events that take place throughout the world. Some of the prominent ice and snow festivals include; the Sapporo Festival in Japan, the Canadian Winter Carnival held in Quebec, the Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Norway, and the Winterlude in Ottawa. These festivals involve lots of exciting activities such as winter fishing, winter swimming, skiing, dancing, skating, wedding ceremonies, fireworks displays, fashion shows, music concerts, exhibitions, and trade fairs.
Significance of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is a significant celebration that has worldwide recognition as international and local tourists attend the event annually. Additionally, the event has developed into a cultural celebration where traditional folk songs and dances are performed. The festival is also famous due to the successful trade fairs and exhibitions that are held there annually. Lastly, the attendees of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival pay huge sums of money to gain access to the festival. These entry fees significantly contribute to the city’s annual income.