Friday, January 30, 2015

SnowCastle Opening Ceremony 2015!


This post is a few days due, but I've honestly been busy and it took a while to go through 100+ photos and edit them. OTL Okay so, with that said let's get on with this post!

So on the 24th January I got a call from mom around afternoon something "The SnowCastle's opening ceremony is today and Sonata Arctica is playing there, do you want to go?" she asked. The choice was very easy to make. I mean, one of my favorite metal bands were playing and I haven't been to LumiLinna (aka SnowCastle) in ages; last time was around 2002 or 2003 maybe? I don't even remember. xD

Wait a second. What is this whole SnowCastle thing?
Ah, yeah. Well, I'll explain. :'D

Okay so, LumiLinna/SnowCastle is literally exactly what it sounds like a castle made out of snow. Surprise! It's a very popular/famous tourist attraction in Kemi (northern Finland) and a lot of people go there, Finns included. *thumbs up* It's something that can't be found anywhere else in the world, it's a really unique experience magical. I warmly recommend visiting it at least once in your life, if you ever take the road to Finland. ^_^
The thing with SnowCastle is that, because it's made out of snow, it will also do what snow always does it will melt and disappear when spring comes. So yeah, basically saying that the castle is rebuilt every year and it's a huge job; this is also why it's never the same one year to the next.
One of the special things is that every year SnowCastle has a different theme that the castle is circulating around and this year it is 'suomalaisuus', in other words 'the Way of Finland'. Yep, this means that the castle's design and snow sculptures are all related to the Finnish life. It takes a long time to build and design the whole thing and there's talented artists from all over the world making the ice and snow sculptures.
But now I'm gonna stop rambling, so if you want more information just head on over to the official site. ;)

SnowCastle entrance.
I went there with mom, stepdad, Jäätynyt Enkeli and a friend. Menimme harrastamaan kulttuuria! I was really curious because, as I said, I hadn't been to the SnowCastle in ages and I barely remembered anything of what it was like! :'D We bought our tickets, saw the scene for the band being empty and went inside to check out the castle, meanwhile we waited for the opening ceremony to start.

Now up ahead are some photos that I took of the wall art!
All pictures can be opened in a new tab/window/whatnot to view full-size.
I apologize ahead for the photo quality.. 

One of the first things we were met by the Finnish Lion.
... and Moomins. What did you expect, death metal?
Don't forget the Angry Birds! They're Finnish!
Michael Monroe (front figure of Hanoi Rocks band).
You saw it coming, right?
Famous Finnish ice-hockey players, including number 8 in the middle.
When we walked through this first corridor there came a hall which had the cafeteria in it. It was really comfy and had some wonderful light effects and by light effects I mean that there were northern lights and a fireplace.. of ice. That was red.

One of the cafeteria hall walls, so cool!
Cafeteria feat. northern lights, well, lights. They changed colors!
We didn't buy anything from the cafeteria.
There was a huge tractor carved out of a craplot of ice blocks in the same hall too, it was really cool.

Next we headed to another corridor, this time one that showcased the Finnish forest and fishing industry.

Fishing time, fishing time ~
Onpas äijällä kala!
At the end of this corridor was a swan made out of ice. Swans are Finland's national bird.

Ice swan!
There was also a church room and in the altar was an ice statue of Christ. 
Seemingly you can book marriages and such in this church room.

The obligatory church cross.
Frozen roses.. roses in ice?
Kirkkolaiva anyone?
In another corridor were snow sculptures of sauna images, a moose, a bear and some other Finnish stuff. In the same corridor were also the hotel rooms. Yep, you can sleep over in the SnowCastle if you book a hotel room. I bet it's not exactly warm.

One of the hotel room beds.
 Actually all the rooms had different artwork on the walls. One had an angel theme, another one had something that I wasn't sure what it was and the third one had vikings.

The angel room.
The viking r--!! BRO, Y U DO DIS? xD
Have at least one of the viking guys.
At this point it was time for the opening ceremony to start so we hurried back outside to the scene. There were a lot of people in front of the scene and at first I had a really bad standing place I could barely see shit! So I started worming and elbowing my way more towards the middle of the human collection. I happened to get a spot with only fairly short people in front of me, which meant that I could even see something of the scene, success!!

It was snowing and we were waiting, waiting and waiting. Finally something happened and Sonata Arctica came up on scene! First song was Shamandalie.

Scene photo.
Close-up on Tony Kakko and his different outfit.
Second song I honestly had never heard before shame on me so it must have been one of the newer ones. It was a calm love song. The third song though was White Pearls, Black Oceans! It's one of my favorites. <3 They did a faster and slightly more aggressive (?) version of the song but it was obviously still cool. I don't know if it was just me though, but I guess I was standing too close to the speakers because the music was so loud that I could barely hear Tony sing. :'(

During White Pearls, Black Oceans some moving lights
were shooting to the sky, as if symbolizing lighthouse lights.
It was really pretty and magical. ;A; <3
During the last song there were a looot of special effects in the form of different fireworks and such.

When the long final song was nearing it's end there came a huge fireworks show in the sky just above the audience!!

I had so many photos taken in quick succession so I just made a gif
out of them, enjoy! x)
Final moments of the song! Come on audience!
And then it was over.
After Sonata Arctica had finished playing their three songs there was this epic voice in the speakers, talking about the start of LumiLinna/SnowCastle and the Finnish theme of the year. Next you would notice that there were some men in the roof of the castle (where the lights and fireworks came from just before) and they were shooting flaming arrows up in the sky! :O I had a bad position so I failed to see most of the arrows because they were behind the scene but the little I did see was really fantastic. Sorry no photos. ;_;

After the 20th opening ceremony was over everyone and their grandmas were cramming back inside into the castle. I stayed outside and tried to scout for familiar faces I found mom and stepdad and then quickly the rest. We decided on going to eat hamburgers in town meanwhile we waited out the rush.
Later we came back like 15 minutes before closing time because I had a scratching in my butt that we had missed something inside. And oh thank god for that if we hadn't gone back we would have completely missed the Kalevala Finnish mythology room (I wanted to see it the most!) and this one was by far the most beautiful, if you ask me. Kalevala is Finland's national epic and yeah, it is truly epic. There is a reason many famous fantasy writers have been inspired by it...

But now, photos!

The Kalevala hall.
Yep, that's an ice table with reindeer pelt wooden chairs.
And now for the Kalevala artwork on the walls. <3 I don't know enough about the story to feel confident in telling what is happening on all the photos, some I just don't really know so I didn't write anything on them.

Seppo Ilmarinen, the smith who forged the golden maiden, the heavens,
the Sampo and a lot of other things in Kalevala.
This is probably the Sampo, a magical artifact
made by Ilmarinen that gave good fortune to its holder.
I assume this scene depicts Väinämöinen (the hero sage) when he
was fishing and threw away a small fish. The fish was actually Aino, the
beautiful maiden, and she fled from him. She later drowned herself because
she didn't want to be forced to marry Väinämöinen because he was, well, old.
Väinämöinen the hero, defending the Sampo from the evil witch Louhi,
who had taken the form of a giant bird.

Väinämöinen singing and playing on his kantele, a traditional
Finnish string instrument.
I assume this is Väinämöinen's magical kantele; he
shaped it from a great pike's jaw, which he slayed.

I think that's about all that I had to say. I really enjoyed being in the SnowCastle again; I should take it as a tradition to visit it every year.. it's not like it's far away either. It's just a really cool place to visit.

Heipattihei ~


Sipsinekku said...

(psst, it's swan with W :> )

Looks pretty cool! I've always only been at Northern Finland at summer, and we have only drove trough Kemi, so I've never been to Ice Castle : D

FankiKitsune said...

"Onpas äijällä kala" --> KAHEN KILON SIIKA XD

Shiro Samurai said...

(oops, I did the Swedish spelling. XD Fixed it!)

You should totally visit SnowCastle someday, it's cool!
I regret not going one of the earlier years when the theme was 'fantasy', ffffffffffffuuuuuuuu.

Hasaki Tsuki said...

Great pics! :'D (And don't protest.)
The SnowCastle was really magical! I'm very happy I could tag along! <3