The City Day
St. Petersburg’s birthday is celebrated on May 27. Historically it was precisely May 27, 1703 when the founder of the city Peter the Great had put the memorial sign into Peter and Paul Fortress’s footing which was the first building of St. Petersburg. The city Day is celebrated on the last weekend of May with street festivals, ceremonies, as well as with theatrical and musical performances.
The festival begins with the laying of wreaths to the monument of Peter the Great on the Senate Square. The traffic is blocked on Nevsky Prospect to give space for solemn demonstrations, carnivals, parades and different performances that are held in the centre of the city. Holiday celebrations take place at the Dvortsovaya Square, St. Isaac’s Square, Peter and Paul Fortress as well as in pedestrian areas of the streets adjacent to Nevsky Prospekt. Several concert venues are usually equipped for singers’ performances, music and dance groups, circus and street performers during the celebration. Different genres of music like church, classical, jazz, folk and modern music resound almost everywhere.
The city is stately decorated on this day; the townspeople and the artists can be seen wearing the costumes of Petrine era. Those who are willing to have a fancy dress can have it by ordering attire from professional costumers.
A solemn service is held at St. Isaac’s Cathedral in the City Day. The ceremony of handling honorable distinctions called “the Honorary Citizen” takes place at Mariinsky Palace. You can also witness special ceremonies at Peter-and-Paul fortress. Sometimes carnival parades are performed along the Nevsky Prospect.
What is more, regattas and parades of historic ships are demonstrated in the aquatorium of Neva. You can ride on holiday cruisers and high-speed boats.
It has become customary to arrange an ice-cream day on Ostrovsky Square during the celebration with a special children’s entertaining program. Children are pleased to meet their favorite cartoon characters on large outdoor screens. They also like to load their stomachs with ice cream and have tons of fun by taking part in different competitions.
The festival ends late in the evening with fireworks on the spit of Vasilievsky Island.
Translation by Evgeniya Gavrilova