Ice lanterns are an easy craft; you don’t need to be an artist to create a beautiful piece of winter sculpture.

Ice lanternKit from Orange Tree Imports

ice lanternfrom the blog:  129 Twig and Vine

From the ice lantern’s humble beginnings as a milk jug filled with water, we move to the biggest artistic exhibition of the ice lantern in the world – the Ice Lantern Garden Party in Harbin City, China. The festival is in its 27th year, begins on January 5, and runs until the end of February.

Ice Festival Harbinimage from Beautiful World in Snaps

“The craftsmen in Harbin were inspired by Chinese ancient ice lantern to create the wonderful artworks excelling nature. Legend has it that long ago when night came in winter, several people would be leisurely grooming or fishing on Songnen Plain located in northeastern provinces including Harbin. They used the ancient ice lantern for lighting. The craftwork of ice lantern at that time was simple, and it was made like this: put water from Songhua River into the cask to be frozen into an icicle, and then cut a hole in the heart of the icicle to allow an oil lamp put in. Hence the ice lantern was made.” – from Travel China Guide

Ice Festival Harbinimage from

Images abound on the internet of the wildly colorful city of ice.  Just google “Ice Festival Harbin” for more images.  Add the keyword “Flickr” to find photo albums posted online featuring the festival. My favorites are still the clear forms, harkening back to the simple, glowing icy lights that may have lit the night for simple fishermen.

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