The White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia is an annual international arts festival during the season of the midnight sun and consists of a series of classical ballet, opera, and music events.
The official period of the White Nights in St. Petersburg is from June 12 to July 2, although in fact, the sun in the city doesn’t go beyond the horizon from May 26 to July 16.
June 22, the day of the summer solstice, it begins to get darker at 22:23, sunset and dawn coincide – 00:02. On this day, the sun actually doesn’t leave the St. Petersburg sky, and you can admire it for 24 hours.
White Nights is an annual summer festival in Saint Petersburg celebrating its near-midnight sun phenomena due to its location near the Arctic Circle. Each year, this festival became one of the most popular among tourists.
This is really an amazing festival, full of the gala and cultural events organized by the Saint Petersburg City Administration. The festival brings together ballet, opera, and classical music events throughout one of Russia’s most beautiful cities.
The festival attracts the crème de la crème of the domestic talents alongside some of the world’s most prominent names when it comes to cultural performances.
It hugely refers to the Stars of the White Nights Festival – a two-month-long calendar of ballet, opera, and classical music performances and concert held at the amazing Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg Conservatory and the Hermitage Theatre.
St. Petersburg Conservatory
Long Night of the Museums
Some of the city’s most prestigious museums and art galleries are opened overnight during the White Nights Festival. Entry is usually free and visitors can browse collections of precious art and other exhibits. This is also known as the Long Night of the Museums.
Some museums will keep their doors open all night while others will offer an extended evening program that usually finishes before midnight.
The Scarlet Sails – Alye Parusa
The Scarlet Sails celebration in St. Petersburg is the most popular event during the White Night Festival – in Russia, it’s known as Alye Parusa (Russian: Алые паруса).
This event is popular for spectacular fireworks and massive show celebrating the end of the current school year. The Scarlet Sails also officially marks the finale of St. Petersburg’s White Nights festivities. We have a separate post regarding The Scarlet Sails event which you might find on our website if you follow this link.
Other Events During White Nights
During the White Night Festival, carnivals take place across the whole city. There are many carnivals and events that give a unique feel.
Peterhof Carnival – One of the most popular carnivals during the festival happens in the suburb of Peterhof where actors perform re-enactments in period costume with period horse-drawn carriages through the streets to celebrate Russia’s most important historic events.
Alexandria’s Carousel – Knight fair in Petergof’s Alexandria park is a traditional event during the White Night Festival. Bright court feasts, fairy-tale atmosphere, unforgettable beauty of the Petergof parks are all creating the unique scent of holiday that differs the festival from most other “living history” events of the city.