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The Coolest Winter Carnivals Around the World

Brrrr, it’s freezing! Time to party? Absolutely.

Winter means big fun for many. Here’s a look at some of destinations across the northern hemisphere embracing the cold this winter!

Probably the best known of these chilled out celebrations is the Quebec Winter Carnival, which has been delighting folks for 60 years with a mix of cold weather wonders blended with traditions dating back to the days when the area was still a French colony. Like other famous Carneval festivities such as in Venice or Rio de Janeiro, the Quebecois shindig has its roots in locals getting together for a bit of sometimes raucous frivolity before the self-disciplines of Lent began. Quebec’s Winter Carnival is also a way of making the merry most of an icy situation with giant ice sculptures, a grand ice palace and loads of outdoor activities to enjoy. Events run from the 10th of January to the 15th of February.

Another blowout event capitalizing on the crisp air, is the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. The northeastern city of Harbin is closer to China’s Russian border than it is to Beijing. Here the winters can be super cold – which the locals reckon is something to celebrate with a huge festival. 2015 will see the 31st Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin with a theme of “Happy Ice Snow, Exciting City.” Highlights include large-scale snow and ice sculptures and buildings made of ice, theme parks, light shows, concerts and more. The festival runs officially from early January to early February.

This winter should be an especially jubilant one in Switzerland as the Alpine nation commemorates the 150th anniversary of winter tourism with famed winter sport destination St. Moritz and much of the rest of Switzerland going all out with an epic ski season of special celebrations and events.

More cool ways to kick the January blues include Winterlude in Ottawa, Canada, the St. Paul Winter Carnival in Minnesota, the Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Norway, Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival, and many more.

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