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White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg 2023: Date, History, Facts, Activities

In 1993, Anatoly Sobchak founded the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, also known as the Star of the White Nights Festival. During Sobchak's tenure as the first mayor of St. Petersburg,

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From June 12 to July 2, St. Petersburg celebrates the White Nights Festival. The holiday’s name derives from the period of white evenings. Between May and July, St. Petersburg has nearly 24 hours of daily sunlight. Thousands of locals and visitors attend the festival to view the galas, fireworks, and live performances. The City Administration of Saint Petersburg organises all cultural and amusement activities, including ballet, opera, and classical music. The summer event attracts the finest Russian and international performers.

The background of White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg

In 1993, Anatoly Sobchak founded the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, also known as the Star of the White Nights Festival. During Sobchak’s tenure as the first mayor of St. Petersburg, the city became the cultural and athletic centre of Russia. As part of his initiative to develop the city, he conceived of a celebration of Russian culture, particularly art and entertainment. The Mariinsky Theatre and Mariinsky Concert Hall hosted a variety of classical ballet and music, opera, and other events during the festival.

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The Scarlet Sails celebration is the culmination of the White Nights Festival and its most popular event. It is the most well-known public gathering in Saint Petersburg. The elaborate performances and spectacular pyrotechnics displays bring the city to a standstill. The Scarlet Sails, or ‘Alye Parusa’ in Russian, dates back to the 1960s, when Russian schools came together to celebrate the conclusion of the academic year following World War II. The celebration in their honour was held on the banks of the Neva in St. Petersburg. The practise ceased in 1979 but resumed on June 24, 2005, decades later.

1990 saw the addition of the White Nights International Marathon and 10K Run through the streets of St. Petersburg. Each year, over 5,000 runners participated in these events, which contributed to the city’s reputation as the sports capital of Russia. The White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg has grown in prominence throughout Europe, with other E.U. countries introducing their own versions of the celebration to their citizens.

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Check out “Scarlet Sails”

“Scarlet Sails” was written by Alexander Grin in 1922 and is a Russian classic about romance and adventure at sea. It also serves as the inspiration for the Scarlet Sails festivities held during the White Nights Festival.

Raise a salute

Without vodka, celebrating a Russian holiday would be like Thanksgiving without poultry. Toast the city of St. Petersburg from wherever you may be.

Blini for breakfast

‘Blini’ are Russian crepes. Unlike American crepes, blini are not sweet and can be stuffed with any filling. On traditional Russian crepes, caviar and salmon are atop.


The metro tunnels in St. Petersburg are the deepest in the world at 70 to 80 metres.

The bell tower of the Peter and Paul Cathedral is the tallest in Russia, measuring approximately 401 feet.

Following World War II, St. Petersburg enlisted 5,000 cats to combat a rodent infestation, and you can still find cats in places like the Hermitage Museum, where scores of them reside.

A small statue of a bird that locals call Chizhik-Pyzhik has been stolen seven times, but it has always been returned to its proper location; tourists toss coins at the statue in the hopes that their wishes will come true.

St. Petersburg contains 800 bridges, 12 of which are movable.


Year Date Day
2023 June 12 Monday
2024 June 12 Wednesday
2025 June 12 Thursday
2026 June 12 Friday
2027 June 12 Saturday
Arshiya Khan
Arshiya Khan
Arshiya Khan is a Commerce graduate who loves to write on general and trending topics.

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