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Customs and Habits

Daily Food Customs. The residents in Harbin are mainly Han nationality, and most of them are immigrants from Shandong and Hebei Province. There were many foreign immigrants in Harbin in the old days, with Russian emigrants accounting for the most part. The living style and customs of foreign immigrants exert a certain effect on the culture and food customs of Harbin people. In the old days, Harbin people mainly ate the large cake (made of corn meal). The original local residents like eating corn, cooked millet and stewed dishes, Shandong people like eating food made of flour and fish, Hebei people like eating rice and porridge made of sorghum. Under the influence of the ethnic minorities, Harbin people like eating glutinous cake and glutinous steamed bun stuffed with sweetened bean paste, Lieba (a kind of large bread), sausage, and like drinking Borsch. 

  Excursion Under the influence of the historical tradition of northern nomadic races, Harbin developed the customs of excursion as early as the 1990’s. Since liberation, excursion has become a common practice, and many organizations organize their staff to go for excursion in the suburb in spring, summer and fall. People also go out on excursion in families. With the improvement of material and cultural level of the people, the excursion of Harbin people is developing into a larger-scale tourist activity, and becoming an important part of culture entertainment in the people’s living. 

  Picnic. In Harbin, where there are excursion activities, there will be picnic. The picnic in Harbin has its historical source, influenced by the eating habits of northern ethnic minorities and the living style of later European immigrants. Since 1990s, picnic has gradually become a common practice. 

  Beer Drinking Harbin began to produce beer at the beginning of the 20 century. Harbin Beer Factory has had a history of one century. The annual consumption of Harbin beer has reached over 300000 tons, and per capita beer consumption ranks the first throughout the country. The main beer brands are “Harbin” and “Three stars”. Harbin people like beer very much. Many people regard beer as average beverage, and some people drink bear to show the heroism and hospitality of Northern people. 

  Yangko Dance. Originating from the rural area in northern China 200 years ago, Yangko is a traditional folk dance popular with Han nationality. It has become a kind of fit-keeping activity for people’s own enjoyment since the 1990s. 

  Winter Swimming Winter swimming is a kind of physical activity with the unique cultural characteristics of Harbin, showing strong body and will of Harbin people defying severe cold. In winter, the outdoor temperature in Harbin goes down to more than ten or twenty degree below zero. The winter swimmers dig the ice surface of the Songhua River to construct a swimming pool surrounded by ice. The down-water time of winter swimming is generally at 5 to 6 o’clock before sun-rise, while the performance time of winter swimming is between 10 to 14 o’clock. 

  Ice lantern. The Ice Lantern in Harbin, which originates from the beginning of 60s, is developed from the traditional simple folk art style. Depending on garden art, it makes use of the expression of construction and sculpture, and adopts electricity as the light source to build various ice sceneries. During the second half of the 19th century, ice lantern gradually developed into the representative of Harbin ice and snow culture and art. The annual Exhibition of Ice Lantern and Ice Carving and Ice Lantern Fair have become the showplace of ice lantern art, attracting a large number of domestic and oversea tourists for a visit. 

  Wedding on the Ice. Wedding on the ice is a kind of wedding ceremony popular with Harbin youngsters. The wedding is sponsored by Harbin Youth Palace as a mass marriage, and it is an important part of the annual Exhibition of Ice Lantern and Ice Carving. 

  Ice and Snow Dinner. In 1985, in the first Exhibition of Ice Lantern and Ice Carving, Jiangnanchun Restaurant held the first Ice and Snow Cuisines Competition, marking the prelude to Ice and Snow Food Culture. Delicate and exquisite ice and snow cuisines art shows Harbin cook’s perfect technology. When tasting ice and snow cuisines with typical local features, visitors can comprehend and feel the special culture in Harbin.

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