Every summer, a strange, natural phenomenon occurs in St Petersburg, Russia. From end of May to end of July, the city’s sky does not get dark, even during the night. It gives the citizens plenty of reason to celebrate. Due to such strange phenomenon, the White Night Festival began. For some people, it could be an unusual feeling to see the sun setting so late and rising so early, tricking their bodies into thinking they need less sleep. However, it is not a bad problem to have when you have a lot of activities to do each day.
White Night Festival is a Russian international arts and music festival that is celebrated during the season of the midnight sun. It is also known as a public gala of cultural events organized by St. Petersburg City Administration. It brings together ballet, opera, classical music, and the arts that showcase the best of the country’s talent. During the celebration, more than one million tourists are expected to visit the city. However, it is not all art and culture during the White Night Festival. There are also public events taking place, such as Scarlet Sails and a series of carnivals. All in all, it is one of the most fun festivals celebrated in Russia that is worth to know about. Are you curious yet? Here are 6 wonderful facts of White Night Festival in Russia.
- Scarlet Sails
One of the highlight shows in the White Night Festival is Scarlet Sails. It is a celebration held for students, particularly those who just graduated from high school. However, it also has become popular with people from all walks of life, it all thanks to the huge fireworks display, an open-air concert, and spectacular multi-level water, and other shows. On the Neva River, there is a boat with red sails crosses the water, wishing the students a smooth voyage into adulthood where they can realize their passions.
Scarlet Sails is a massive public event with millions of people coming every year. The tradition has been going since after World War II as a tribute to the Russian children’s tale ‘Scarlet Sails’ and was started when Leningrad schools agreed to celebrate the end of term. Since, it has become the main event during the festival, it is definitely worth going to if you are in the city.
- Stars of the White Night
Stars of the White Night is held at the Mariinsky Theatre during the summer months. It is Russia’s premier arts and classical musical festival, which was established in 1993 as a musical gift to St. Petersburg. It consists of many art performances, such as classic ballet, opera, and classical music. The three of them focus on classical masterpieces from around the world, in addition to some rare treasures that people barely heard before.
During the celebration of White Night Festival, you can find a series of carnivals that take place across the city, mostly in the suburb of Peterhof. Carnivals held at the Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk suburb of St. Petersburg are also popular for their highly artistic reproductions of historic events. There are actors perform the reenactments in period costume with period carriages ridden through the streets in order to celebrate Russia’s most important historic events. For music lovers, there are also contemporary shows in the city’s Palace Square. The Palace Square has been utilized for official military parades and other massive demonstrations and has also been the place of recent concerts by big-names musicians like Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones.
- A Cultural Celebration of Music and Arts
The White Night Festival celebrates the arts of opera, ballet, and classical music. The celebration offers you the best of the best productions with art performances done by Russian and international artists and features famous historical productions along with contemporary pieces and new premieres. During the festival, there are evening performances of either ballet or opera at the local theatre and classical or opera musical performances at the Mariinsky Concert Hall every day.
- History of White Night Festival
The White Night Festival was first observed in 1992. The festival was registered with an international body called International Federation of Festival Organizations (FIDOF). The head of the festival was the mayor of St. Petersburg. The celebrations of White Night Festival were then performed in 1993, 1994, and 1995. Back in 2003, a 300th year anniversary was held to commemorate 300 years since the discovery of St. Petersburg. There was also gala concert in 2006 as a G8 Summit cultural show. In 2011, the White Night Festival received recognition from foreign countries as a cultural event. The purpose of the White Night Festival is to enhance cultural exchanges between Russia and foreign countries. It was also created to enhance the image of Russia and promote it as a world center for arts.
- An All-Inclusive Festival
The artistic director of the White Night Festival ensures that it is an all-inclusive festival where both children and adults can attend and enjoy. Children usually look forward to the end of school year celebration at the festival which is hyped up by the fireworks display as its mark. All the events are tailored towards the satisfaction of the people no matter their age or gender. It also presents several star performances by international artists. Some of them who have performed at the festival are the Rolling Stones, Scorpions, and Paul McCartney. News, television, media, and newspapers will no doubt cover the event.
So, those are 6 wonderful facts of White Night Festival in Russia. Being awake at odd hours is not at all terrible when you are in Russia. The festival provides you a lot of time to see the city. You can take a photo at every hour to document the beautiful light, mesmerizing sky, and the festive views.