The ever-colourful ice festival in the northern Chinese city of Harbin opened on Sunday (January 5), but with less grandeur than in years past.
The 30th annual Harbin Ice Festival opened to the public to display massive structures made completely out of ice, ranging from churches to pagodas.
This year's display, however, did not include a major series of opening events, the highlight of which being a scheduled 30-minute fireworks display.
Despite the lack of fireworks, Li Mingjie, a local Harbin resident, said that he was still very proud of the festival.
"I think that as someone from Harbin, I'm very proud of this. First, this is our hometown's cultural festival which can spread our ice culture. Secondly, as our economy and country are getting better and better, this city's beauty is a symbol of both. Thirdly, as people from outside of China are increasing here, I think this is a great opportunity for international communication to take place," said Li.
Ruan Qingliang, a government office worker from the Tianjin, said that she was inspired by the beauty of the ice festival, but the lighting scheme made photo opportunities difficult.
"I can understand why there are so many people here. Then when it comes to taking photos, well, there might be a shortcoming for this. If you're in any place here, and the lighting is bad, well, it's easy to take a dark photo of someone," said Ruan.
Organizers said that more than a million people are expected to attend this year's festival.
The fireworks display has been held every year of the festival on its opening night, but this year organisers have cited Harbin's bad air as a reason for its cancellation.
In November of last year, alarming levels of smog caused Harbin, a city of 11 million people, to effectively shut down with schools suspending classes the local airport temporarily closing.