Harbin Ice Festival Facts

The Harbin Ice Festival is one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals, along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec City Winter Carnival, and Norway's Ski Festival. The below is a list of facts about the festival for your info.

Official Name in China: China•Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

Translated Name in Wikipedia: Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

Simple Names by Tourists: Harbin Ice Festival, Harbin Snow Festival, Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, Harbin ice lantern festival

Sponsors

Heilongjiang Provincial Government, Harbin Municipal Government, Tourism Administration of Harbin

Opening Dates

The festival officially starts in January 5th every year, but the locals begin to celebrate the festival in the third week of December of the previous year because most of the ice lanterns, ice and snow sculptures are completed by this time. Depending on the weather conditions and activities, the festival usually last until the end of February.

harbin ice and snow sculpture festival

Origin and History of the Ice and Snow Festival

As early as 1980s, the ice lanterns in Harbin were known by many tourists from all over China. The local interesting winter activities and sports made the ice city more vitality in winter. The local unique snow and cultural activities have been subject to the government's attention. Especially, when the officers of the Propaganda Department of Harbin Municipal Party Committee met the tourists from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, they found that their guests were very crazy about Harbin's ice lanterns, ice cultures, winter activities and snow, they had an idea for holding the ice and snow festival to promote Harbin's tourism. In Oct. 1983 the officers approached Harbin Municipal Party Committee with a suggestion. After more than a year's unremitting effort, the suggestion was accepted by both Harbin Municipal Government and Heilongjiang Provincial Government. On Jan. 5, 1885, the first Ice Lantern Show was declared its opening at Zhaoling Park. At the same time, the government announced the annual Ice and Snow Festival starts at Jan 5 and last about 2-3 months.

harbin china snow sculptures

Theme Parks

Harbin Ice and Snow World,  Ice Lantern Show (some people also name it Ice Lantern Park Fair, Ice Lantern Fair, or Ice Lantern Fair Party) , Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, Songhua River Ice and Snow Happy Valley

Main Venues

The whole city of Harbin celebrate the Ice and Snow Festival, the Songhua River, all streets, parks and ski resorts are the venues of the festival, some famous venues are the west of the Sun Island, Zhaolin Park, Sun Island, Songhua River, and Stalin Park.

What's On

During the festival, the host city holds the Ice Lantern Show, the snow sculptures park fair, and international competitions for ice and snow sculptures; launches winter swimming, ice sailing, speed skating, mountain skiing and cross-field skiing competitions; and organizes the ice and snow film art festival, exhibitions of paintings,  calligraphy and photos, performances of folk songs and dances, and wedding ceremonies on ice, in addition to economic and trade talks, commodities fairs and trade fairs.

winter swimming harbin

Main Tourist Attractions

Songhua River Tourist Area, Sun Island, Zhaolin Park, Stalin Park, Siberian Tiger Park, St. Sofia Church, Bliss Temple, The Mosque, China's Snow Town, Yabuli Ski Resort, Erlongshan Ski Resort etc.

harbin snowboarding

How to get

1) By plane 

Harbin Airport (IATA: HRB) has services to more than a dozen domestic destinations (such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xian, Kunming etc.) in addition to Hong Kong. 

International services are available to Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, Russia, Niigata, Japan, Seoul, South Korea and Los Angeles, USA. 

2) By train

Taking a train to Harbin is very easy, but we only recommend tourists taking train to Harbin from these cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Jilin, Changchun, Shenyang, Mudanjiang, and Jinan. Because taking train from other cities to Harbin may need to spend a lot of time. 

ice and snow world harbin