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Ice Carving | A Spectacular Event in China

In my last post, a guest blogger wrote about how she saw an ice carving expert in action during her vacation. I thought this was interesting because many chefs who do fruit and vegetable carving also do ice carving. I’ve never tried it myself but the technique and the product are certainly beautiful and fascinating.

One of the World’s Largest Ice Carving Festivals

Ice carving Walls in Harbin, China

Colorfully Lit Walls of Ice at Ice Festival in Harbin, China

After seeing Jana’s post on ice carving, I thought it would be fun to share with you some truly amazing ice carving sculptures at what is probably THE largest and most impressive ice carving event in the world.

So I’d like to take you with me on a mini vacation to China for the Ice and Snow Festival. Our stop is in the city of Harbin in Northeast China. I hope you don’t mind the cold because winter temperatures here can dip into minus 35 degrees Celsius.  It’s not hard to see why Harbin has made ice carving and snow sculptures an important cultural event!

A Chinese Lantern Ice Carving

A Chinese Ice Lantern

I did some research and learned that the history of ice carving dates backs to the Qing Dynasty in the 1600’s to early 1900’s. Fishermen used to make ice lanterns to use during the winter months.

Later on, people began to make ice lanterns for their children during festivals, which included special patterns and sculptures. From there, the art of ice carving and snow sculptures became part of China’s history and culture.

The Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin starts in January of each year and is open to visitors for over a month. Some activities that take place during the festival include skating, skiing and ice hockey. But what draws most visitors is the amazing ice carving and snow sculpture displays. There are usually more than 2000 sculptures showcased at the event!

Just imagine taking a walk and being surrounded by bright and colorful ice carving sculptures as tall as buildings. What a scene that would be. Let’s have a look!

Photos of Ice Carving Sculptures at the 2012 Ice and Snow Festival in China

Here are a few photos of the ice carving sculptures from this year’s Festival.

Ice Carving City in Harbin, China

Visitors stroll through an icy city during the Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin

Ice Carving Building in Harbin, China

Large ice structures were beautifully lit for a night time winter scene


Palace Ice carving in Harbin, China

Spectators can follow the stairs up to an ice palace

Slide Ice carving for tobogganing in Harbin, China

Imagine tobogganing down this icy slide!

Ice carving structures in Harbin, China

Ice City displayed at the Ice and Snow Festival in China

Here are some photos of the incredible snow sculptures that were erected for the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival:

Snow Sculptures at Ice Carving Festival in China

Isn’t that just breathtaking? Harbin is definitely another city to add to my list of places to visit!

Other Major Ice Carving and Snow Events Around the World

The ice carving event in Harbin is one of the World’s four largest ice and snow festivals. If you are curious about the other three, here they are!

The top four includes Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival:

Ice Carving at Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival

Ice Carvings displayed at Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival

Next on the list is Canada’s Quebec Winter Carnival:

Quebec Ice Carving and Snow Festival

Festivities and snow sculptures at the Quebec Winter Carnival

The last of the four largest ice and snow events in the world is the Norway Ski Festival:

Norway ski festival and China Ice Carving Festival are world’s top snow festivals

Spectators enjoying the Ski Festival in Norway

I hope you enjoyed our visit to China, among a few other countries, to see the spectacular ice carving and snow sculptures.

Have you ever visited any of these places during their winter festival? If you have, I am truly envious of you!

By the way, if you check out Jana’s post on ice carving, you’ll see pictures of a few ice carvers in action and some of the tools involved:

Ice carving Sculptures: It’s a Winter Wonderland!

Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival

Ice carving looks like a fun and challenging form of art, but I think I’ll stick with fruit and vegetable carving for now!

Learn to carve like a pro

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