Each year the town of Harbin comes alive in a world of snow and ice during the 27th Harbin Ice Festival, an annual event that celebrates the capital of China’s Heilongjiang Province in a spectacular display of ice carvings, ice sports and even snow and ice culture. Kicking off with the opening ceremony at the end of December, the festival runs throughout January and most of February, with a huge range of events held for the duration of the festival. Visitors are able to enjoy all sorts of icy fun, from watching events such as live ice carving to ice sculpture competitions, group wedding ceremonies on the ice, winter sports and many other highlights in between. Some of the categories for the festival include the following:
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Ice And Snow Art
This part of the festival includes all the ice art events, from live carvings to sculpture competitions. This year the 37th Ice Lantern Garden Party held in Zhaolin Park is set to offer a once-in-a-lifetime display of creative inspiration. These amazing ice lanterns created here are made with water, lights and natural ice sourced from the Songhua River that runs through Harbin. The ice lanterns are constructed by freezing water, piling up ice or snow, and then carving, enchasing and decorating the frozen lanterns. Also on the cards is a snow sculpture competition, which is held in the Sun Island Scenic Area, and of course an ice sculpture competition, which is held in Zhaolin Park early in January.
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Ice and Snow Culture
Throughout the festival, visitors can enjoy a host of events such as the First China Ice and Snow Wedding Ceremony Festival as well as the 27th Ice and Snow Festival Group Wedding Ceremony on the Ice, along with other events including the 4th International Youth Shows Invitational Tournament, which is held in early February at the Harbin Youth Palace.
Ice and Snow Sport
Another popular aspect of the Harbin Ice Festival is the winter sporting events that take place throughout the festival. A wide range of sports from winter hockey to curling, ice fishing and winter swimming bring many spectators to the arenas to watch contestants battle it out in freezing conditions.
Ice and Snow Tourism
With throngs of visitors returning to the city of Harbin each year to witness the fantastic attractions and events of the annual ice festival, it is not surprising that tourism plays a key role in the festival’s longevity. A range of events held to assist the tourism of Harbin and the greater province of Heilongjiang offer a chance for the city to show the rest of the world what it’s got, with events such as the First Volga Cross-Country Skiing Festival, Songhuajiang Ice & Snow Happy Valley, assessment of Ice and Snow Sculptures on main streets and squares and the 2nd Harbin Ice and Snow Carnival each showcasing the allure and magnificence of this unique and awe-inspiring ice festival.