Harbin Ice Lantern Garden Party is the earliest and biggest artistic exhibition of the ice lantern in the open air in the world covering an area of 6.5 hectare (about 16 acres) and the quantity of used ice is about 2,000 stere . It is listed as one of the 35 national 'absolutely rare and wonderfully beautiful' scenic spots by National Tourist Office. The Party was initiated in 1963 and from then on it has been held every winter in Zhaolin Park, which shows about 1,500 pieces of traditional ice lanterns. It is considered as a beautiful name card to Harbin City.
The Ice Lantern Garden Party is an outstanding achievement of local people, who exploit and utilize the local resources of ice and snow. The craftsmen in that city use the ice from Songhua River to create the omniform artworks of ice sculptures. All the artworks take on a grand verve and bewitching view.
The craftsmen there were inspired by Chinese ancient ice lantern to create the wonderful artworks excelling nature. Legend has it that long ago when night came in winter, several people would be leisurely grooming or fishing on Songnen Plain located in northeastern provinces including Harbin. They used the ancient ice lantern for lighting. The craftwork of ice lantern at that time was simple, and it was made like this: put water from Songhua River into the cask to be frozen into an icicle, and then cut a hole in the heart of the icicle to allow an oil lamp put in. Hence the ice lantern was made. It helped a lot in people's life at that time. Subsequently every time when Chinese New Year and Lantern Festival came, people were delighted to decorate these ice lanterns to celebrate the festivals.
Now it has evolved into a local traditional festival in that city called Harbin Ice and Snow Festival held on January 5th every year. Throughout the festival and during the period of the Ice Lantern Garden Party, tourists can take part in international physical movements in Songhua River such as: sitting on the ice sailing boat, hitting the spinning top on the icy river, attending the wedding on the ice, skating on the ice and watching the winter swimming competition. When night falls, you are expected to attend the evening party of Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. There you can see wonderful performances and also join in it. That is really nice!
Nowadays the ice lanterns have become the pride of local people. The art of ice lantern making has reached maturity. It is a unique art exhibition of ice and snow which gathers multiple subjects such as gardening, architecture, sculpture, theatrics, Chinese painting, Chinese literature and Chinese music, which causes great influence both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, modern science and technology of optics, mechanics and acoustics are applied to show us the multicolored and exquisitely carved ice lanterns. The ice artworks include the ice architecture, the ice sculpture, the ice waterfall, the ice parterre, the ice sliding board, the ice Chinese calligraphy, the ice miniascape, the ice advertisement and of course the ice lantern. So many different artworks are strewn at random around the Ice Lantern Garden Party to create a perfect world of ice and snow.
During the period of the party an ice sculpture competition will be held in Zhaolin Park. The craftsmen from America, Japan, Singapore, Canada, Russia and altogether more than 10 countries will be invited to join in the competition with the enthusiastsall over China in purpose of interchanging their craft of ice carvings. It is a party for friendship more than a party of competition. So we say the party is the cradle to the craftsman of ice carvings.
Up till now, 43 sessions of Ice Lantern Garden Party have been successfully held. The accumulative total of guests from both home and abroad is more than 30,000,000. It has already created 7 items of Guinness World Records and made great contribution to this well-known tour city. So it is worthy for you to come for a visit.
How to get there: Take bus 4, 8, 23, 53, 83, 114, 132, 136, 201 or 206, and get off at Zhaolin Gongyuan (Zhaolin Park) Station.
Entrance Fee: CNY 150