Starting in the 1950s, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is widely known as one of the world’s biggest celebrations of Ice and Snow, occurring in the height of Chinese winter in the city of Harbin, which typically drops to far lower temperatures than the rest of China due to cold northern winds coming into the country from Siberia, Russia. This can cause the festival to be maintained easily in temperatures of up to -45 degrees Celsius (-49 degrees Fahrenheit) between January 5th and, typically, late February to early March, when it melts.
The festival is celebrated via a variety of ice sculptures throughout the city but more so in the Ice and Snow World that operates each night. The area features a variety of sculptures, statuettes, statues and even entire buildings and structures made out of solid 2-3 feet deep blocks of ice that have been cut out of the nearby Songhua River via swing saws and further detailed through the use of chisels, smaller saws and ice picks. Through the use of deionised water, crystal clear ice can also be produced and these blocks frequently have multi-coloured lights run through them to produce beautifully vibrant hues in the night.
Further decoration and features of the ice sculptures often include windows, lasers, ice lanterns, large slides, ski tracks and swimming pools. Architecture seen is incredibly diverse with structures being inspired heavily by influences from European, Asian and American classical and contemporary architecture, especially those of Gothic, Ming and Metropolitan, as well as Neolithic, design.
Notable festivals featured include the 2007 festival which depicted Canadian doctor Norman Bethune for his anti-fascist views, work with the communist party and friendship with Chairman Mao Zedong, entailing a distinctive Canadian theme. Additionally, a snow sculpture consisting of a depiction of the Niagara Falls and the Crossing of the Bering Strait by the First Nations was pronounced a Guinness World Record holder for the largest snow sculpture, measuring 250 metres long, 8.5 metres high and using over thirteen thousand cubic metres of snow.
This year the traditional Ice and Snow Festival will go on as normal with the Ice and Snow World in a prominent position but also featuring tours through China’s Snow Town, Xuexiang, the Harbin Ice Lantern Show, opportunities for participants to feed Siberian Tigers in the Siberian Tiger Park, tours through Sun Island Park, Zhaolin Park and Stalin Park and aquatic animal displays in Harbin Polarland, among many other activities.
China has many amazing sights and experiences to be seen and felt and the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival is just one of a wide range of beautiful areas and you have to be there to truly soak in the vivid atmosphere. However, luckily SeekTeachers works in a range of places all over the world including China! So check out SeekTeachers’ teaching jobs in China!