Support The Moscow Times!

St. Petersburg Revels Among Scarlet Sails and White Nights

St. Petersburg is famous for its midsummer celebrations when the night skies never reach complete darkness due to the city’s northern location. The most spectacular celebration of them all took place this weekend: “Aliye Parusa,” or Scarlet Sails.

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: