The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is an annual winter festival that takes place in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China.
The world-famous festival, which is in its 31st edition this year, has grown to be the largest of its kind in the world.
It had its modest beginnings in 1963 but was suspended during the Cultural Revolution.
It was officially revived in the 1980s. The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the Ice and Snow World Expo, which showcases massive multicoloured ice sculptures the size of small buildings.
Harbin, situated on the edge of Siberia, is known as the Ice City in China for having the longest and most bitterly cold winters among the major Chinese cities.
It is at its most festive and colourful during this time as thousands of both local and overseas tourists descend upon the city to participate in not only the festival but also a host of related activities, such as winter swimming, group wedding ceremonies, concerts, skiing, ice-sculpture competitions and an assortment of winter sports and games.
The temperature frequently dips well below minus 20 deg C during the December to February period.
The festival officially started on Jan 5 and usually lasts till the end of February .
This article was first published on Jan 24, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.