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China's Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Winter is embraced at the annual festival in northeastern China, which opened on Jan. 5, 2012.

Fireworks light the sky above ice sculptures during the opening ceremony of the International Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China, on Jan. 5, 2012. The annual three-month festival attracts visitors from all over China as well as a number of foreign guests who brave below zero temperatures to see colorful ice and snow sculptures, ride horse-drawn carriages and enjoy a number of winter activities. Diego Azubel / EPA
A climber ascends a building made of blocks of ice during the opening ceremony of the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival in Harbin on Jan. 5. Andy Wong / AP
Colorful lights adorn trees at the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival in Harbin, China, on Jan. 5. Andy Wong / AP
Detailed buildings carved from ice -- complete with tunnels, stairways, bridges and even slides -- are illuminated by colored lights. Diego Azubel / EPA
A woman takes a photograph of the colorful buildings Jan. 5 at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. Andy Wong / AP
A woman scales an ice tower as visitors take pictures Jan. 5 at the International Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Diego Azubel / EPA
Fairytale palaces, towering pagodas and even an Egyptian Sphynx -- all carved from ice -- are among the sights at this year's Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. Gou Yige / AFP - Getty Images
Visitors watch fireworks during the Jan. 5 opening ceremony of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. Andy Wong / AP
Confetti is thrown during a group wedding ceremony Jan. 6 at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. The wedding was organized by the city government, and 18 couples from Nigeria, Russia and China participated. Sheng Li / Reuters
A performer takes a break Jan. 4 during a rehearsal of the opening ceremony of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Sheng Li / Reuters
Visitors ride a horse-drawn carriage at the International Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China's northern Heilongjiang province, on Jan. 5, 2012. The annual festival officially opened on Jan. 6. Diego Azubel / EPA
A young girl goes down an ice slide at the International Harbin Ice and Snow Festival on Jan. 5. Diego Azubel / EPA
Children lie on the snow to form the number "2012" while anticipating the new year in front of a snow sculpture in Harbin, China, on Dec. 30, 2011. AP
Visitors view ice sculptures at the International Harbin Ice and Snow Festival on Jan. 5. Diego Azubel / EPA
Two visitors pose for a photograph with an ice sculpture at the International Harbin Ice and Snow Festival on Jan. 4. Diego Azubel / EPA
Visitors navigate stairs made from blocks of ice at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival on Jan. 4. Andy Wong / AP
A horse carriage with tourists travels past ice sculptures during the testing period of the 13th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival on Dec. 25, 2011. Sheng Li / Reuters
The annual winter festival in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province has become a tourist attraction and is now one of the four largest ice and snow displays in the world. Sheng Li / Reuters
Tourists take pictures in front of a snow sculpture on Dec. 26 at 13th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China. Sheng Li / Reuters
Harbin is one of China's coldest cities, with January temperatures often below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Blocks of ice cut from the Songhua River are turned into elaborate sculptures lit by colorful lights. Sheng Li / Reuters
A visitor rides a sled down a snow slope near ice sculptures Dec. 25 ahead of the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. Sheng Li / Reuters
In addition to snow and ice carvings, the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival features various events such as ice climbing, a skiing contest, figure skating and more. Sheng Li / Reuters
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival arose from an old wintertime tradition in northeast China of using ice lanterns lit by candles. Sheng Li / Reuters
A tourist records video of one of the ice sculptures, which will be on display at Harbin Ice and Snow Festival through late February. Sheng Li / Reuters