Frigid northern China hosts snow and ice sculpture festival In this Jan. 3, 2017, photo, released by Xinhua News Agency, contestants carve ice sculptures during an international ice sculpture contest as part of the Harbin Ice and Snow festival in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. (Wang Jianwei/Xinhua via AP/Chinatopix via AP)
Frigid northern China hosts snow and ice sculpture festival
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The city of Harbin in China's frigid northeast is hosting one of the world's largest festivals. It features ice sculptures of animals, cartoon characters and famous landmarks.
 
Last year, the festival drew more than a million visitors. It showcases the region's tradition of snow and ice carvings as well as ice swimming in the Songhua River. Harbin's temperatures can fall to minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit.
 
Harbin's best ice and snow carvers have been busy putting the finishing touches to their sculptures. They are based on big chunks of ice that are dragged out of the nearby river. Then they are carved, brushed and lit up.
 
The sculptures range from animals and cartoon characters to replicas of famous world monuments and landscapes, as well as a 1,115-feet-long slide. State media say it took around 500 builders to complete.
 
Lu Fu was helping to finish a giant ice castle on a busy roundabout in Harbin, brushing it with a small rake.
 
"I feel happy. Especially after completion, I feel so excited when looking at the ice wall with lights on in the distance," said Lu, who has been carving ice for more than 20 years. "Ice building is the pride of Harbin people."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is ice building a source of pride for the people of Harbin?
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