The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, established in 1985, is held annually from January 5 and lasts for over one month. Harbin is the capital city of Heilongjiang Province and this is China’s original and greatest ice artwork festival, attracting hundreds of thousands of local people and visitors from all over the world. The city’s location in northeast China accounts for its arctic climate which provides abundant natural ice and snow.
Derivation of the Ice Lantern
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. 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.