Harbin Ice Festival
Harbin Ice Festival Facts
Opening Time: early January – March
Venues: Sun Island, Ice and Snow World and Zhaolin Park
Harbin Ice Festival, also known as Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, is China's original and greatest ice artwork festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world.
The 37th session of the festival will be held from November 2020 to April 2021. The best collections of ice artworks will be mainly exhibited in the following venues:
Sun Island Scenic Area
Ice and Snow World
Ice Lantern Garden Party
Yabuli International Ski Resort
History of Harbin Ice Festival
The city's location in northeast China accounts for its arctic climate which provides abundant natural ice and snow. Subsequently, the 'Ice City' of Harbin is recognized as the cradle of ice and snow art in China and is famous for its exquisite and artistic ice and snow sculptures. The fabulous Ice Lantern Festival is the forerunner of the Harbin Ice Festival and is still the best loved part of the overall event in the opinion of all who go to that city each year.
The first Ice lanterns were a winter-time tradition in northeast China. During the Qing Dynasty（1644 - 1911), the local peasants and fishermen often made and used ice lanterns as jack-lights during the winter months. At that time these were made simply by pouring water into a bucket that was then put out in the open to freeze. It was then gently warmed before the water froze completely so that the bucket-shaped ice could be pulled out. A hole was chiseled in the top and the water remaining inside poured out creating a hollow vessel. A candle was then placed inside resulting in a windproof lantern that gained great popularity in the region around the city.
From then on, people made ice lanterns and put them outside their houses or gave them to children to play with during some of the traditional festivals. Thus the ice lantern began its long history of development. With novel changes and immense advancement in techniques, today we can marvel at the various delicate and artistic ice lanterns on display.
Today's Ice Lantern
Nowadays, ice lantern in broad sense refers to a series of plastic arts using ice and snow as raw material combining ice artworks with colored lights and splendid music. The specific patterns of ice lantern include sculptures, ice flowers, ice architectures and so on.
Today, Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is not only an exposition of ice and snow art, but also an annual cultural event for international exchange. Every year, there are many ice sculpture experts, artists and fans from America, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Russia, China, etc. gathering in this city to participate ice sculpting competitions and to communicate with each other in the ice and snow world. Also, Harbin ice lanterns have been exhibited in most of China's main cities as well as in many countries in Asia, Europe, North America, Africa and Oceania. For more than 40 years, the city's local natural resource of ice and snow has been fully explored to provide joy and fun for visitors to the city. Now during the festival, many sporting competitions are also popular including ice-skating, sledding and so on. Weddings, parties and other entertainments are now very much a feature of this ice world, adding their own contribution to the celebrations of this great festival of art, culture, sports and tourism.
Three Major Venues
1. Sun Island
It is the site of the Snow Sculpture Exposition displaying a wonderful snow world. It has the world's largest indoor ice and snow art museum and it opens to the public from November every year.
|Admission Fee||Snow Sculpture Exposition: |
CNY 330 for adults
CNY 165 for children between 1.2-1.4m (3.9 and 4.6 feet)
Free for children under 1.2m
Other time: CNY 30 (just admission fee)
|Expo Opening Time||Late Dec. 2020 to the end of Feb., 2021|
|Operating Hours during the Expo||08:00-17:00|
|Transportation||1. Take bus 29, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126, 127, 211, 212, 213, or 215, and get off at Taiyangdao Daokou (Sun Island Crossing) Station. |
Harbin Bus Search
2. Take the cable car over the Songhua River directly to the scenic area.
2. Ice and Snow World
It came into being in 1999 and is one of the world's largest ice architecture parks. The inspiration for the ice and snow sculptures there usually is derived from traditional Chinese fairy tales or world famous architectures such as the Great Wall, the Egyptian Pyramids, etc.
|Admission Fee||CNY 330 for adults |
CNY 200 for children between 1.2-1.4m
Free for children under 1.2m
|Opening Time||Late December 2020 to March 2021|
|Operating Hours||11:00-21:30 (The lights are on from 16:30)|
|Transportation||Take bus 29, 47, 80, 119, 125, 126, or 127 to Bingxue Dashijie (Ice and Snow World) directly. |
Harbin Bus Search
3. Zhaolin Park
It is a 'must see' during the Harbin Ice Festival because it has a traditional program that shows the most excellent ice lanterns. With water, lights and the natural ice from the Songhua River running through this city as the material, the ice lanterns are made by freezing water, piling up ice or snow, then carving, enchasing, decorating, etc. The Ice Lantern Garden Party has been held here annually since 1963. There are numerous pieces of ice artworks in the park arranged in groups according to different themes depicting Chinese classic masterworks, European folktales and customs and so on. A great variety of objects such as buildings, gardens, flowers, waterfalls, European-styled churches, lions, tigers, dragons are carved from ice. In the daytime, the ice sculptures are magnificent and verisimilitude. Moreover, with the interspersion of the sparkling colored lights embedded in the sculptures at night, the park becomes a glorious and amazing ice world.
|Admission Fee||During the festival: CNY 150 per adult; free for children under 1.2m |
Other time: Free
|Ice Lantern Garden Opening Time||Dec. 30, 2020 to Feb., 2021|
|Operating Hours during the Festival||10:00-21:00|
|Transportation||Take bus 8, 23, 29, 52, 53, 83, 114, 132, 136, 201 or 206, and get off at Zhaolin Gongyuan (Zhaolin Park) Station. |
Harbin Bus Search
The 37th Harbin Ice Festival Highlights (2021)
It is expected to start from November 2020 to April 2021, covering three important Chinese festivals – New Year's Day, Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival. A variety of activities about ice and snow, concerning tourism, culture, fashion, the economy and trade and sports, will welcom all tourists. People can enjoy beautiful ice sculptures and snow arts in the Sun Island Scenic Area, Ice and Snow World, Zhaolin Park and Central Street. In addition, St. Sophia Church, Harbin Polarland and Songhua River are also worth a visit during the festival.
☆ 2020 - 2021 activities schedule for your reference:
|The 27th National Snow Sculpture Competition||Dec. 23~28, 2020||Sun Island Snow Expo|
|The 34th International Snow Sculpture Art Expo||Dec. 23, 2020~ Feb., 2021||Sun Island|
|The 13th International College Students Snow Sculpture Competition||Jan. 4~7, 2021||Harbin Engineering University|
|The 35th International Ice Sculpture Competition||Jan. 6~8, 2021||Zhaolin Park|
|The 37th Ice Festival City Circuit Procession||Jan. 5, 2021||Harbin Expo Center to Ice and Snow World|
|The 37th Harbin Ice Festival Opening Ceremony||Jan. 5, 2021||Harbin Expo Center|
|The 37th Harbin Ice Snow Group Wedding Ceremony||Jan. 5, 2021||Sun Island|
|The 32nd Hundred-Flower Dance Contest of senior people||Jan. 13, 2021||People's Stadium|
|2021 New Year Concert||Dec. 31, 2020||City Concert Hall|
|2021 International Children Art Variety Tournament||Jan. 5~10, 2021||Harbin Youth Theater|
|2021 International Winter Swimming Game||Jan.1~5, 2021||Harbin Ice Festival Swimming Venue|
|Songhua River Ice Snow Happy Valley||Jan. 1~Feb. 5, 2021||Songhua River|
|The 27th International Snow Sculpture Competition||Jan. 10~13, 2021||Sun Island|
|36th Harbin Ice Festival International Trade Fair||Jan. 5~8, 2021||Harbin Expo Center|
|10th Central Street Ice Sculpture Art and Culture Festival||Dec. 25, 2020~Feb., 2021||Central Street|
Further Reading: Top 10 Things to Do in Harbin