Chinese couples brave freezing temperatures to tie ceremonial knot at Harbin ice festival

Couples attend a mass wedding on the second day of Harbin's International Ice Festival, in Harbin on Jan 6, 2017.
Couples attend a mass wedding on the second day of Harbin's International Ice Festival, in Harbin on Jan 6, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS
Couples attend a mass wedding ceremony on the second day of Harbin's International Ice Festival, in Harbin on Jan 6, 2017.
Couples attend a mass wedding ceremony on the second day of Harbin's International Ice Festival, in Harbin on Jan 6, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

HARBIN, CHINA (REUTERS) - Eighteen couples braved freezing temperatures on Friday (Jan 6) to tie the knot at a mass wedding as part of the Harbin International Ice Festival in northern China.

The ceremony began at 9.38am, as the number eight is considered good luck in China, with the couples walking down a red carpet in temperatures of about minus 20 deg C.

They recited vows and shared kisses in front of a crowd of media and spectators.

"We're from Guangzhou and it doesn't snow over there, and it's not that cold," said Fan Shimin, who travelled to Harbin with her husband.

"Coming here, everything around us is a winter wonderland of powder and jade."

Most couples said they were already married but still wanted to take part in the Ice Festival wedding ceremony, which is held every year.

The 33rd annual Harbin International Ice Festival began on Thursday and will last for 60 days.

The frigid festival, with all sort of wintry activities, draws several million tourists from across the country and internationally each year.