Harbin Ice Festival
- Pages: 8
- Word count: 1940
- Category: Festival
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Do you know that ice was once used to hold a burning candle during the Qing Dynasty back in 1644? The ice lantern was first created in the northeast China during the winter time. It was said that, back in the 17th century, ice lanterns were made by fisherman and farmers in the northeast China to prevent the candle from being blown out by the strong wind. Due to the climax weather in northeast China, ice can easily be formed by just letting a bucket of water to freeze in open air. Therefore, fishermen in China decide fill up a bucket of water and let it freeze in the open space. After few hours of freezing in the open space, fishermen heat the bucket a little to separate the ice from the bucket. The fisherman then chiseled a hole in the middle of the ice to release the remaining water leaving a hollow vessel. A windproof ice lantern is now formed. The windproof ice lantern has gain popularity that people starts to make ice lanterns to put outside their house and gave it to their children to play during some festivals. Ice lantern was the symbol of winter holiday back in the old days. Ice lanterns also symbolize the novel changes and immense advance in techniques of the Chinese craftsmanship.
2.2 Introduction of Harbin
Ice lanterns were first found in Harbin, Northeast China, which is located under the direct influence of the cold winter from Siberia. Harbin city came into settlement first in 1907, by the Nazhen nationality. This place was named Harbin because of the natural and cold fishing area in Songhua River. The name of Harbin literally meant “where fishing nets are dried”. During winter days especially on January, the average high temperature reached -13 °C (8 °F) while the average low temperature reached -25 °C (-13 °F). Although this province, Hei Long Jiang is under a bad weather, the population of this province had unbelievably reached 39 million, and the official population in only Harbin is 10 million with 4 million living in proper city areas.
2.1 Social and cultural impacts
According to ‘Festival and Special Event Management, Fourth Edition’, all events have a direct social and cultural impact on their participants. The impacts might be small from province to province and big until nationwide. Every event give impact of positive and negative to the participant.
First, the positive social and cultural impact to this event is the sharing of experience. While tourists participate in this event, they tend to learn experience from the citizens and might as well share their own experience to the other. Besides, the rate of community participation also increased because the preparation work for this festival acquires a lot of labor which opens a working opportunity to the citizens which increases the activity of citizens during a cold weather. The 2012 Harbin ice and snow festival also coincides the start of China-Russia tourism year, therefore, most of the performers from Russia join the performers from china to put up several memorable shows, which had increased the value of the entire event. Furthermore, new and challenging ideas were introduced through this event such as a new level of ice sculpting skills. Craftsmen were able to gain new ice carving and sculpturing from this festival.
According the CNN News, there were about 2000 ice statues around Harbin and the largest snow sculpture, a 27 meter high ‘Snow Girl’ were placed in The Sun Island. Moreover, this festival had built the community pride of the province and the country. During the interview with CNN News, a Harbin resident said he was excited since ice and snow were always a part of their culture, and were joyous because the ice festival made their city more beautiful and was happy that foreigners can feel the enthusiasm of the locals through the event. This festival had impressed foreigners and even the locals from other province to pay a visit to this extremely cold place during winter. According to the CNN News report, 18 couples from around the world were witness to complete their wedding in the event. One of the bride Gao XiaoYu said the ice wedding was a memory to their first date since she and her husband first met on a winter day. This international event had brought the province to another level in the world and gain popularity for this festival.
With this mind, negative social impact as negative community image will also be a part of the entire festival. Negative community image is they negative way citizen show to the participants as dirty toilet, smoking in public places etc. These will directly affect the image of the place or even the whole country. Besides, bad behaviors are also a common problem happens during the festival. Bad behaviors such as touching or destroying the ice statues will bring bad image to the particular country. According to Black Diamond Equipment, sponsored athlete were allowed to climb on any of the ice building by organizers had received many negative comments as it’s said to have destroy the building and has show disrespect to the artists. In addition, a serious negative impact is community alienation. Locals will try to adjust or change their original culture in order to be welcoming.
2.2 Political Impact
Politic is plays an important role in events especially international events. Events were use by politicians to gain their personal popularity among the people. They often throw a open house for Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Hari Deepavali and others, or charity shows.
The positive impacts for The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival had successfully build up the international prestige of China. The festival had bring great fame to the country and the province while holding the festival as this place were often cut out from the list of traveling due to the weather. However, the festival had made the place more lively and warm with the welcoming of Harbin Residents. As Mayor of Harbin, Mr Lin Duo said they warmly welcome guests around the world to join the festival. In addition, this festival has indeed improved the profile of the place as it shows the beautiful side of the landscape. The blessed landscape had allow sculptors to show their talent and build something magnificent. According to the report of a CNN Go staff from CNN News states that the organizers of the festival plans to build the world longest ice slide but the venue and length are yet to be announced. Furthermore, the festival had opened a chance for investors to invest and lead to the development. According to the website ‘Direct Rooms’, the total number of registered hotels in Harbin is 65. As a matter of fact, hotels were built to ingratiate the amount of tourists that flows into Harbin each year. Thus, this festival had drawn a sum of investors.
Meanwhile, for one thing the organizers feared the most is the risk of failure of the event. The successful of this festival had become the centre of focus to tourists and the local government. Therefore, organizers were forced to make sure the festival operates right each year. Once a failure occurs, the festival might loss its focus. Besides, local government might loss the community ownership and control to the tourists around the world. Tourists were overwhelming the hospitality of locals and were often demanding. This brings annoyance to locals which they can’t do anything about it because of the personal right of the tourists. If this situation continues, the harmonious between locals and tourists might come to a breaking point. Besides, tourists find this festival lack of accountability as there is no official organization to handle the complaints. This is a serious problem to as there will be no improvement if the organizer know nothing about the dissatisfied of tourists.
2.3 Environmental impact
According to ‘Festival and Special Event Management, Fourth Edition’, an event is an excellent way in which to showcase the unique characteristics of the host environment. For instance, the climbathon held in Mount Kinabalu each year had show the world the beautiful landscape of Malaysia or North Borneo, known by foreigners to the world.
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival had provided a chance to showcase the environment of Harbin. During the interview with China Daily News, a tourist Zhao Li had visited The Sun Island and said she was excited to experience in a massive and well-protected wetland. In addition, China is a country with various kinds of landscape in different areas. Therefore, it is a learning chance for tourists to learn the high land and the beauty of the landscape. In addition, the festival had also increased the environmental awareness for tourists. According to the statistic, amount of ice blocks cut from Song Hua River each year were over 100,000 tons for the festival. People began to aware the problem of global warming as the water level rises. Through this festival, participants were educated the importance of water in everyday life. Furthermore, the transportation and communication were also upgraded and improved due to the convenience of the tourist which also indirectly benefits the locals. Transports and communication is a very important elements for each and every events. Therefore, public transports and road were mend and nicely build to increase the impression of tourists.
Despite the positive impact were convincing, there will always be negative impacts. Noise disturbance is a common problem seen during the festival each year as the place is flooded with tourists and locals. During the entire festival, the quiet and cold city had become lively, but it had created noise pollution for locals. Foreigners with different habit had disturbed the peace of the locals. Likewise, traffic congestion is also a great problem as tourists flood into the city by vehicles had destroyed the peace of the city. Traffic congestion is a serious matter that can cause traffic accident and event frustration which is dangerous.
According to research, accident will always happen during any festivals or events no matter it is severe or light. To solve this problem, local government should develop a new way of transport that can solve the traffic problem. Last but not least, pollution is a common problem in every event. For example air and noise pollution. Transportation increased in a sudden big amount had released toxic gas and smoke that endangered health and lead to global warming. The air released might indirectly destroy the ice sculpture and shorten the time of the festival as ice starts to melt when there is heat. Melting ice sculpture might be a threat to the participant safety as big blocks of ice might be falling. According to the local meteorological bureau, a senior meteorologist at the Heilongjiang Observatory Yin Xuemian said that the ice sculpture melts right after they were sculpt on year 2002. While year 2006, a lump sum of money and energy were needed to redo the melted sculptures.
2.4 Tourism and economic impact
An event is tightly tied to tourism and economy. These elements are very common and important to a particular event as event has the power to bring a dead city to life. As a matter of fact, tourism is also a great way to bring in money exchanged and is a main income of a country.
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival had created a destinational promotion and increased tourist visits.
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