Ice Ice Baby
When: January 5th for one month.
Where: Harbin, Heilongjiang, China.
The city of Harbin (the capital of Heilongjiang province of China) makes the most of its freezing winters with the incredible Harbin Ice Lantern Festival (Haerbin Bingdengjie). The city is located in Northeast China and bears the brunt of the cold winter wind from Siberia. The average temperature in winter is -16.8C and it can get as cold as -38.1C at times.
Every year for most of January huge ice blocks are carved into sculptures and buildings to create a glittering Ice and Snow World. As night falls, the gigantic sculptures are illuminated up in a spectrum of colours.
Ice lanterns were a winter-time tradition in northeast China during the Qing Dynasty（1644 – 1911). The local peasants and fishermen often made ice lanterns to use at night during the winter months. These were made by pouring water into a bucket that was then put out in the open to freeze. When it was semi frozen (just the outside with the inside still being water), it was removed from the bucket and a hole was chiseled in the top to pour the water out thus creating a hollow vessel. A candle was then placed inside resulting in a windproof lantern that gained great popularity in the region around Harbin.
From then on, people made ice lanterns to put outside their houses or give to children during some of the traditional winter festivals. The ice lantern began designs to develop into more elaborate constructions and larger scales now we see the incredibly elaborate displays today.
You can find more information on the festival on the Travel China website
Food & Drink
Traditionally most Chinese cuisine is mostly based on opposites, where sweet balances sour for example. Try our Hot and Spicy Crispy Beef. Drink Rice wine.