I love the snow. I like the way it shimmers off the trees and covers streets and sidewalks. On my days off I like to go outside to make snow angels and snowmen. At times I’ve been known to build a snow fort. In my mind these are masterpieces of art. I’ve even gone so far as to take pictures of my artwork with pride. So when I became aware of China’s yearly Ice Sculpture Festival I was intrigued. Did I have the same skills?
In Harbin, China it stays below forty degrees for a half the year. The way they celebrate the coldness without letting the temperature get them down is to build and compete with ice sculptures. Beautiful pieces of art are displayed. Great dragons, a woman playing the flute and ice sculptures of animals are just a few that can be seen. Trees are decorated with hundreds of lights in colors of pink and blue. At night the sculptures are lit up with multi-colors. Ice palaces become alive. The Great Wall is lit in green and becomes an ice slope. You can hop on and go for a ride. There’s an ice wall you can climb. Ice horses you can sit on and have your picture taken. Take a ride on horse-drawn carriages. Go ice skating or sledding.
The Festival lasts for an entire month of January and into February. People from all over the world participate in the event. Whether they are building their own sculptures or just visiting. Couples will say their vows under castles in matrimony. There is something for everyone from swimming competitions to dance shows to paddling down the river during the Lantern Festival in ice boats. On any given day there is an activity going on that you can participate in or watch.
While I will still go out and make my snowmen with carrots for noses and stones for buttons and call them masterpieces. I will know somewhere; someone is perfecting my abilities by building an ice sculpture so beautiful even my snowman would bow in appreciation.