Harbin Ice Festival’s 31st Year in Running

Photo+Courtesy+of+www.nbcnews.com

Photo Courtesy of www.nbcnews.com

The Harbin Ice Festival in China, now in its 31st year and considered the largest in the world with more than 2,000 sculptures, dispatched 150 artisans to four Gaylord hotels across the United States to create Ice!, with themes that include Frosty the Snowman and “The Nutcracker” (around $25 for adults), stated to intransit.blogs.nytimes.com.

The festival has roots in a centuries-old tradition of making ice lanterns out of frozen blocks cut from the Songhua River. Back in the Qing dynasty, peasants and fisherman would place candles inside of chunks of ice and turn them into makeshift lanterns, according to www.smithsonianmag.com.

Made up of several themed zones, the event area covers about 750,000 square meters, reported edition.cnn.com. Works are mostly inspired by Chinese fairy tales and famous landmarks, such as the Great Wall of China, the Egyptian Pyramids and Iceland’s Hallgrimskirkja church.

Harbin held its first ice lantern festival in 1963, and other ice-related festivals began popping up around the city after that, though unrest during the Cultural Revolution temporarily halted the festival, according towww.smithsonianmag.com. The Harbin Ice Festival began in earnest in 1985, merging with the Heilongjiang International Ski Festival in 2001 to become the internationally famous event it is today.