China kicks off month-long winter festival in northern city of Harbin
HARBIN, China (Reuters) – Swimming fanatic Yu Hongtao, 50, educated for months in the freezing water of the Songhua river to compete in a winter ice swimming event held once a year in China’s northern city of Harbin, recognized for its bitterly chilly climate.
“You have to start swimming from autumn so that the body can conquer the sudden icy impact on one’s cardio-vascular system,” mentioned Yu, a Harbin resident. “The feeling of diving into the water is very cool.”
More than 300 women and men, dressed in simply extraordinary trunks and swimsuits, on Saturday braved the sour chilly waters in the ice swimming meet, phase of Harbin’s annual winter festival, a number of the greatest in the northern hemisphere.
Temperatures can plunge as little as 35 levels Celsius underneath 0 (minus 31 F) in the city in China’s Heilongjiang province.
The festival, which started on Saturday, has drawn hundreds of thousands of guests from around the globe yearly since its inception in the early 1980s.
Highlights come with sled rides at the Songhua river, mass weddings, and towering sculptures of ice and snow carved by means of 1000’s of artists and employees.
Visitors wonder on the mini ice replicas of the Colosseum and of the Milan Cathedral, specifically in the lengthy evenings when comfortable, coloured lighting fixtures remove darkness from the sculptures.
The festival additionally draws hordes of home vacationers.
“The ice castles and sculptures made by workers are very impressive,” mentioned Lin Renlong, who was once visiting along with his female friend.
“It’s like Disneyland, Disneyland in winter,” mentioned the 22-year-old from the northern province of Hebei.
Reporting by means of Joyce Zhou and Ryan Woo; Editing by means of Clarence Fernandez