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Snow Festivals around the World

With a big chunk of the Earth covered in snow during the Christmas season, celebrations get even cooler with snow festivals. Eye-catching ice sculptures and festive activities are more than enough to bring “joy to the world!”

  • Hokkaido Sapporo Snow Festival. The spirit of Christmas remains very much alive in Hokkaido, Japan even months after the holiday season. The Sapporo Snow Festival, held in early February, started in 1950 when six high school students built snow statues in Odori Park. The tradition was continued by the soldiers from Makomanai base, and since then, it grew into a massive festival that attracts more than two million tourists every year.

    See huge snow sculptures (more than 15 metres tall and 25 metres wide) and hundreds of smaller ice statues at the festival’s main site, Odori. Watch entertaining concerts and events, most of which are staged in the gigantic sculptures themselves. Magic envelopes the place at night when the sculptures are lighted up and glow under the night sky until 10pm.

    Susukino, another festival site, is a vibrant entertainment hub. Drop by in the evening of the first day and discover ice sculptors with chainsaws and other power tools. A wide range of snow sculptures abound in the area: ice statues with real Japanese seafood, a Bailey’s bar made of ice, and frozen Shinto shrines. Susukino Ice queens (Japanese girls) are a sight, too!

  • Alpine Parade of Lights and Snow Festival. Welcome Santa Claus in San Diego, California’s 13th annual snow festival on December 12. A parade kicks off at 6:30 pm on Alpine Boulevard and ends at the Alpine Community Center, the site of the event. Watch as Santa Claus lights up the Christmas tree, enjoy sled runs with the kids, join the holiday sing-along, and see various festival entries decorated with lights. Twinkling costumes, bikes, and other wheeled entries welcome tourists in this fun festival.
  • Beijing Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival. Spectacular pyrotechnics, glowing ice lanterns, and fishing and ice sports spice up this snow festival held annually from January 15 to February 29 in Longqing Gorge in Beijing. Bungee jumping, rope sliding, and a scenic elevator with incredible views add adventure to the festive event.

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