Posts Tagged ‘Harbin Ice festival’

Hey, that’s a big santa!

January 15, 2009

Christmas has come and gone, but where would you expect to find the world’s largest Santa sculpture? A western country that perhaps celebrates christmas? Wrong! China of course!

The China Post reports that none other than the Harbin Ice festival has created a massive Father Christmas.

The giant Father Christmas, 160 meters (525 ft) long and 24 meters high, centers on an enormous face of Father Christmas, complete with flowing beard and hat.

We were a little disappointed that we missed spending Christmas in China – moreso now that we didn’t get up to Harbin. Despite not actually celebrating what has to be the most famous western holiday, there is definitely no shortage of Christmas decorations around the country. In fact, to our complete amusement, we often found Merry Christmas santa signs as permanant fixtures in most stores – particularly florists for some reason.

Next year perhaps.

The frozen festival returns!

January 6, 2009

Every year from January 5 until February 5, there’s an amazing ice sculpture festival located in the frozen chinese city of Harbin. Now Harbin isn’t cold all year round, but in the winter, due to its proximity to Siberia, temperatures can reach as low as -16 degrees!

We really wanted to get there to see the festival but unfortunately this didn’t happen due to our early departure.

Harbin in photographs is what you’d call a Chinese winter paradise. There’s just something magical about snow. It doesn’t matter what it falls on, the end result is always something beautiful. When we arrived in Wuxi, there had been abnormal massive snowfall – so much so that it created havoc over most of the country – stranding thousands. We missed seeing our part of China buried in snow by mere weeks. In Harbin it’s a regular cycle.

We really wanted to try and catch the gardens of Suzhou under snow, they would have looked simply amazing.

We met a french couple from Harbin while we were staying at Sim’s Cozy Garden Hostel in Chengdu. They said it was actually very difficult living there as they felt completely isolated. Unlike Wuxi, Harbin had very little in the way of ‘Western Comforts.” In Wuxi, you’ve practically got a KFC, Starbucks or McDonalds(sometimes all 3!) on every block, yet in Harbin, there is none of this.

China can be an extremely difficult country to adjust to at the best of times, and for westerners settling in for a temporary period of a year or so, we can really take comfort knowing that yeah, there IS familiar food just down the road if it’s really need(and man, sometimes it so was). I can fully understand how life for them would have been in Harbin. I had no desire to live there, but I really wish we could have made it to the ice festival. One year!

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