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Traditions and celebrations:Harbin

Updated: 2013-01-18 16:21
By Zhang Zixuan ( China Daily)


Traditions and celebrations:Harbin

Harbin, Heilongjiang

Dubbed "Paris of the Orient", Harbin carries the post-Christmas joy right up to Lunar New Year.

The provincial capital of Heilongjiang province in Northeast China still maintains some traces of Western lifestyle and more than 200 fine examples of Russian architecture in town.

But come Spring Festival, the city blends Eastern and Western elements to perfection. The highlight is the annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, bringing with it ice sculptures, on-ice performances and entertainment galore.

From Lunar New Year's eve right up to the 15th day of the first month in lunar calendar, every family has a red lantern in their home. Locals and visitors are treated to the yangko dance, a form of folk dance popular in northern China. The dance is so contagious that tourists are not expected to remain observers for long, but to join the dancers and have a good time.

Like most Chinese, local Harbin residents pay special attention to family reunion dinner on the eve of Lunar New Year. The meal must include the "big four" - chicken, fish, ribs and pork leg. If any of the "big four" is missing, it is not considered a reunion dinner with Northeast flavor.

And of course, dumpling is the most important food on the dinner table. The filling can range from sauerkraut to pork, shallot and lamb, and tomato and egg.

Making dumplings with family members is the best bonding activity, and the fastest way for new friends to warm up. Some families will also put a few coins into some of the dumplings. There is a belief that those who chance upon the "fortune dumplings" will be blessed with good luck throughout the coming year.

After a sumptuous dinner, sink your teeth into a frozen pear - a genius creation that can only be inspired by a temperature of -30 C.


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