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A city in China hosts an elaborate winter festival with giant ice castles, mass weddings, and a frigid swimming contest - take a look

Business Insider | Jan 11, 2019, 07.19PM IST

Harbin Ice Festival China 2019

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Tourists visit illuminated ice sculptures during the opening day of 35th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at the Harbin Ice and Snow World on January 5, 2019 in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province of China.

China's Heilongjiang Province isn't always a big destination for tourists, but when winter rolls around, the region rolls out the red carpet to millions of visitors from across the globe. The city of Harbin hosts one of the world's largest winter celebrations, called the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, which features painstakingly crafted ice sculptures and gargantuan snow statues.

The festival, which includes four separate theme parks, kicked off its 35th year on January 5 and runs until the end of February. Last year's attracted more than 18 million visitors, according to NBC News.

The festival's colored lights make the ice creations look even more striking, and each year weddings also take place there in abundance.

For those unable to travel to Harbin this winter (presumably that's most of us), take a look at these stunning images from the festival so far.

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