Scarlet Sails Festival
“Scarlet sails”, the holiday of graduates, is held on the weekend which is the nearest to the shortest night of the year (June 22) and falls on the White Nights season. White Nights are a special time in St. Petersburg. It stands for the dusk night light, the night streets and prospects crowded with townsfolk and tourists, lush wedding corteges and proms. It is at the peak of this season when “Scarlet Sails” festival takes place. It is also one of the brightest water shows in the world.
People began to celebrate the graduate’s days in St. Petersburg in 1969. That year 25,000 alumni rushed out the streets of the city at night time to celebrate. That was when the first schooner with scarlet sails passed along Neva River.
The idea of a holiday is to congratulate the alumni with school graduation and wish them a happy voyage into adulthood and materialization of their ambitions. The symbol of the holiday is a schooner with scarlet sails that is created based on the novel of A. Green “Scarlet Sails”, a story narrating about dreams, hope and faith.
The holiday starts late in the evening and spreads on multiple grounds of St. Petersburg. Huge screens are set in several places of the city that broadcast different events from throughout St. Petersburg. The traffic is closed on Nevsky Prospect and thousands of citizens gather in the city center. The prom begins at the Palace Square at 23:00 sharp with the involvement of well-known musicians, singers and dancers. The entrance is available only for graduates by invitation cards. At the same time starts an open air concert on the spit of Vasilievsky Island for the residents of the city and the tourists.
After 01:00 a.m. in the morning fantastic multi-level water, light and pyrotechnic show takes its rise at the site of the Neva from Troitskiy to Dvortsoviy Bridge (the length of which is about 2 kilometers). The spectators completely fill in the embankments and nearby bridges. Dynamic light and fireworks extravaganza takes place with full synchronization with the music performed by symphony orchestra. Meanwhile the sailboat with scarlet sails appears and starts to slowly floating in the aquatorium of Neva. It is followed by escort of small boats. The whole action personifies a part of a single theatrical production of the novel written by Alexander Green, which takes place in the city, on the screens and on the water. The show lasts about half an hour, but it surely produces unforgettable emotions in the hearts of those who watch it.
By the end of water performance the concert on Palace Square runs on. Basically the celebration lasts till about 04:00 a.m. in the morning. Cheering news, the subway starts operating earlier this day so that the participants of this holiday could manage to get home.
The upcoming “Scarlet sails” festival is scheduled for the night of 25-26 June, 2016.
Scarlet Sails 2010
Scarlet Sails 2011
Scarlet Sales 2012 video clip
Scarlet Sails 2013
Scarlet Sails 2014
Scarlet Sails 2015
Translation by Evgeniya Gavrilova