Officially a celebration for high school graduates, the event has evolved into a celebration for the whole city, attracting huge numbers. More than 1.4 million people attended this year’s event, according to the city’s acting governor.
After a theatrical performance on Palace Square, spectators cram the embankments to watch concerts and fireworks on the Neva River before its bridges go up.
The evening culminates in the appearance of a historical ship bearing bright red sails, which moves down the Neva as huge showers of fireworks explode overhead.
Here’s a look at the unforgettable display: