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January 5, 2009

Icy days and nights

Today is the opening day of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, China. The festival lasts for one month, and features large ice and snow sculptures, ice lanterns, swimming in the icy Songhua River and more. The northern hemisphere is a hospitable place for ice festivals these days, so in that spirit, here is a collection of recent photographs of all things frozen, and some of the ways we live and play with ice. (34 photos total)

People visit an ice sculpture for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province December 23, 2008. The 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will kicked off on January 5, 2009. Picture taken December 23, 2008. (REUTERS/Sheng Li)

Fishermen drill a hole through the two-foot-thick ice to put their net into the frozen Chagan Lake on December 24, 2008 in Songyuan, Jilin Province, China. Chagan Lake is one of the ten biggest fresh water lakes in China and winter fishing on the lake has a history of over 2,000 years. The local authorities organize the old tradition aimed to attract a lot of tourists and make the lake a popular tourist destination in winter. (Guang Niu/Getty Images) #

Chinese visitors get a preview of the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang province on December 24, 2008. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images) #

A swan attempts to land on a frozen lake near Castleford northern England Monday Jan. 5, 2009. Freezing temperatures and snow have struck large areas of Britain. (AP Photo/ John Giles/PA) #

Chinese visitors get a preview of the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 24, 2008. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images) #

Skaters compete on a track of ice created from grassland sprayed with water, in the northern Dutch province of Frieslands on December 29, 2008. (ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Visitors attend the opening of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival held in Harbin, China on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

After being pronounced husband and wife, Michael and Sigret Cook, center, exit the ice chapel built for their wedding on Christmas Day Thursday afternoon, Dec. 25, 2008 in Fairbanks, Alaska. (AP Photo/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Johnny Wagner) #

Visitors attend the opening of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Italy's Armin Zoeggeler races down the ice track during his first run of the men's single Luge World Cup in the Bavarian resort of Schoenau am Koenigssee, January 4, 2009. (REUTERS/Alexandra Beier) #

A visitor takes a close look at a lit tree during the opening of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival held in Harbin, China on Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

A child pushes a sled over a frozen pond at the English Garden park in Munich, southern Germany, on January 4, 2009. (OLIVER LANG/AFP/Getty Images) #

Ice Sculpture by Donald Chapelle titled "Mangrove", on the Boston Common for First Night celebration on December 31st, 2008. (Boston Globe) #

A chain link fence and the trees behind it are covered with a thick coat of ice in the aftermath of an ice storm along a highway in Boylston, Massachusetts, Friday morning, Dec. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) #

A visitor takes a picture as he walks through an illuminated "ice palace" in Schwarzsee about 50 kilometres (31 miles) west of Bern, Switzerland on January 3, 2009. (REUTERS/Pascal Lauener) #

The Marken lighthouse in northern Holland is seen surrounded by ice sheets, caused by the recent cold weather, on January 2, 2009. (OLAF KRAAK/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man swims in a frozen swimming pool in Changzhi, Shanxi province, China on January 3, 2009. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Visitors slide on tracks at an ice sculpture during a preview for the upcoming 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

Avery Thomas and Dave Dishneau work to secure straps from a crane hook to a submerged utility truck Monday afternoon, Dec. 22, 2008, on the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska. The vehicle's multiple occupants escaped unharmed after breaking through thin ice near Pike's Landing the previous night. (AP Photo/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Johnny Wagner) #

People visit an ice sculpture for the upcoming 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

Trees bent by the weight of ice from a winter storm line railroad tracks in Hinsdale, Massachusetts, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/The Berkshire Eagle, Ben Garver) #

People visit a castle constructed of ice prior to the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

A member of the "Optimalist" heath club hacks a hole into the ice covering a canal near the village of Viazynka, Belarus on December 28, 2008. The club promotes a healthy way of living, encouraging its members to spend most of their free time in the countryside. (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko) #

A giant Santa Claus ice sculpture, created for thefor the upcoming 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China. Photo taken on December 24, 2008. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

People visit ice sculptures for the upcoming 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

People skate on frozen canal in the Kinderdijk's Mill Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, near Rotterdam, Netherlands, Saturday Jan. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong) #

Chinese visitors get a preview of the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, northeast China on December 24, 2008. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images) #

Ice forms on a crabapple tree following an ice storm in Antrim, New Hampshire, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008.(AP Photo/Jim Cole) #

People visit ice sculptures for the upcoming 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

A Chinese couple enjoys time together as they ride on a specially made ice-chair on a frozen lake in Beijing, China, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

A snow sculpture takes shape at the Snow Festival in Harbin, China, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Nam Nguyen climbs an ice-encrusted ladder out of Lake Minnetonka during the 19th annual On it and In It Lake Minnetonka Ice Dive in Excelsior, Minnesota, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009. With morning temperatures in the teens, event organizers said more than 900 people plunged into the 31-degree waters to greet the new year. (AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, Richard Marshall) #

Ice sculptor Don Chapelle, of Brilliant Ice Sculpture, puts the finishing touches on an ice sculpture called Pipeline, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008 at the Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole) #

Visitors take souvenirs photos in front of an ice sculpture for the upcoming 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province December 23, 2008. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

 
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