The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival just started a couple weeks ago. Despite temperatures which hover in the -20s, they are expecting about 1.5 million visitors before the festival ends in February.
However, the ice doesn’t cut and cart itself out of the Songhua River. Every year, starting in December, farmers looking for some extra money during the winter get up at 3-4 am and work 12-13 hours cutting ice blocks.
Sixth Tone had this short video below accompanying their story about the workers who have been doing this job for years, despite swearing they will never do it again.
Like people all around the world, they raise the familiar complaint about “kids today.”
Most of the ice cutters are farmers from nearby villages, ranging in age from 30 to 55. Nobody younger is willing to take up the job. “The work is too difficult,” Tang said. “[Young people] can’t deal with the hardship. They don’t need to do this to make money.”
I am sure most haven’t forgotten, but just another reminder that art doesn’t just happen. The creative expression we see is just the final stage of a lot of hard work and sweat (well, if it were warm enough to sweat.)