No secret that White nights season in May-June is the perfect time to visit St. Petersburg. Be captivated by the lavish palaces and fountains and enjoy the scenic panoramas whilst strolling around the city. Study the majestic surroundings or take a trip on a river boat to admire the city from its waterways at night underneath the stars. But there’s so much more to do!
Russians highly appreciate culture, arts and traditions, and the beginning of the summer season is the best time to immerse yourself in a constant flow of cultural events and celebrations alongside the locals.
Here are the special events taking place in St Petersburg between May and June worth seeing!
Victory Day on 9 May
Victory day has always been a great celebration in Saint Petersburg, as the city survived an 872 day siege during WWII. The traditional Victory Day parade which consists of a concert, tulips for the veterans, joyful tears, and, of course, grand fireworks; all of these make this holiday very special. Read more about Victory Day in Russia.
Peterhof Fountains opening on 19 May
Every year the park of Peterhof hosts a special event, when its famous fountains are turned on after a long winter break. An all-day festival is held with a fanfare, classical music performance, fireworks and many other thrilling events.
The Museum night on 19 May
Straight after a busy day at Peterhof embark on a museum tour at night. Every year the Petersburg museums, libraries, Zoo, Planetarium and other venues join this international event and prepare many surprises, master classes, special exhibitions and original excursions. Take this great opportunity to take part in the special night programme of the Hermitage, explore the collection of the Russian Museum or set off to Pushkin to enjoy the midnight stroll in Ekaterina Park. The museums event programmes will be available later.
Peter and Paul Fortress at white night
City Day on 27 May
A tradition of Russian cities is to celebrate the day of the city’s founding. On 27 May 1703 Peter I founded a fortress on the Neva river, the Peter and Paul Fortress, that laid the foundation for the splendid city of Saint Petersburg.
The programme of the festive events is very intense: exhibitions, concerts, folk festivals, and, of course, the opening of the city fountains as a symbol of summer and new life. The celebration of St Petersburg 315th anniversary ends with a huge multi-colored burst of fireworks in the night sky.
Summer Garden – the most famous garden in St.Petersburg
‘The White Nights Stars’ Cultural Festival in May – July
The International Ballet and Opera Festival with over 20-year history takes place annually at the acclaimed Mariinsky theatre. It is one of the most interesting and largest musical events in the world. Every year, the Mariinsky Theatre delights lovers of opera, ballet and classical music with the best performances, great symphonic works, masterpieces of chamber music and theatrical premieres performed by the world stars.
Day of Russia on 12 June
St. Petersburg will celebrate this great holiday on a large scale – there will be many special events, various concerts, interesting exhibits and fireworks to complete the celebrations.
The annual festival “Scarlet Sails” on 23 June
A ship with scarlet sails on the Neva river
This celebration, organised in honour of alumnus and graduates, attracts up to 3.5 million viewers annually! Wonderful ships with scarlet sails, the symbol of hope and faith in the future, will sail on the Neva river accompanied by music, light show and fireworks, all making an incredible spectacle!
Contact our friendly team to find out more about any of these events and get a true insight into St. Petersburg history and everyday Russian life. Start planning your dream tour today with a range of excursions we offer in St. Petersburg!
Preparing for the New Year celebrations, people clean their homes, buy gifts, clothing, food and items to decorate their house. Chinese people put New Year pictures on their walls and decorate their homes with red papers and couplets for happiness, wealth and longevity, and hang beautiful red lanterns.
In the evening of the Spring Festival Eve, many people set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to cast away bad luck and bring in good luck. Many people will wear new clothes and send Chinese New Year greetings to each other. People joyfully participate in various festivities, such as beating drums and striking gongs, dragon and lion dances.
The Lion Dance
It is a time to reunite with and visit relatives. A festive dinner is held on New Year’s Eve where families will gather to celebrate, normally in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Year’s Eve dinner is very large and traditionally includes meaty dishes, such as pork, chicken and fish. Most reunion dinners also feature a communal hot pot to signify the family gathering for the meal. Meals on this date have a big significance, certain foods are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune.
During the dinner family members exchange red envelops, which often contain money in certain numbers that represent good luck.
The first day of Chinese New Year is a time for younger people to honor their elders, families will visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended families, usually their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The second day of the Chinese New Year is the time when married daughters visit their birth parents, relatives and close friends. Some believe that the second day is also the birthday of all dogs and give them special treats.
Most employees in China have at least seven days off work to celebrate the Spring Festival. However, the festival lasts for 15 days, from the Chinese New Year Eve to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year. Various traditional customs and activities are held during the Lantern Festival that appeal to people of different ages, including watching lanterns and fireworks, guessing lantern riddles, performing folk dances, and eating yuanxiao (a rice ball stuffed with different fillings).
The Chinese believe that while red is a symbol of happiness, gold is a symbol of wealth. Traditionally, red envelopes are passed out during the Chinese New Year’s celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors and children. Red envelops almost always contain money and, sometimes, chocolate. Interestingly, the amount of money in the red packets should always be an even number, as odd numbers are associated with money given during funerals. The numbers six and eight are considered lucky so they are commonly found in the red envelopes.
Small gifts, usually of food or sweets are also presented to friends and relatives during Chinese New Year, for example, oranges cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candies, or other similar gifts.
Did we inspire you to experince the greatest annual event in China? It’s never too early to book your trip! Contact our travel specialists to get assistance in planning your dream journey.
The Thousand Camel festival takes place annually between the end of winter and beginning of spring in Dalanzadgad. Participating in this spectacular 2-day event is an amazing and unique opportunity to interact with the two-humped Bactrian camels and Mongolian camel herders. Every year the festival gathers more than a thousand camels, and over a thousand participants and spectators. The camels are especially pretty in winter when their fur becomes thick and lavish to stand the cold temperatures.
The festival celebrates the endangered two-humped camels (Bactrian) and the role it played, and continues to play, for nomads in the Gobi. These amazing animals carry everything that a Mongolian needs to build and live in a ger (also known as a yurt). Camels are much tougher than horses and can cover 50 miles in one day, and run very quickly.
Nowadays camels have been replaced as a means of transportation by cars, but the popularity of camel racing reflects the admiration still given to them. There are approximately 500,000 Bactrian camels in the world, and 300,000 of them habit in Mongolia.
Mongolians eat camel meat, similarly to goat, and use camel wool for making clothes like jackets and socks, and blankets.
Camel riders before the start of races
This exciting and fun event takes place in the Gobi during the time of the year when the desert is covered in snow and temperatures drop below zero. It features traditional music, costume competitions, dancing, polo competition and camel racing. After the festivities, the spectators can ride the camels and visit some of the Gobi’s unique sights.
The festival begins with a camel beauty parade where the big, fluffy animals parade in front of the crowd. They then embark on the race, where the herders drive the camels on a 15km race across the steppe. The average speed of camels is about 12 km per hour, which corresponds to the speed of a galloping horse. Racing camels is the most beautiful and popular competition of all the holidays and events of Mongolia attracting many visitors.
Un unlimited expanse of steppe
In addition to the race, another highlight of the event is a Polo match. Two riders sit on each camel; one controls the camel, while the second one hits the ball with a stick.
Other highlights of the festival are traditional performances of Mongolian folklore and a fair of products from camel milk and camel-hair.
If you would like to experience this unique spectacle at the end of February – beginning of March, please contact our travel specialists and get first-hand advice.
An ancient peripheral town Suzdal is world-famous for its Kremlin and White Monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The annual Cucumber festival there is a unique opportunity to experience this town, and take part in contests and other amusing activities with locals.
Place: Suzdal, Russia
Location: 220 km (135 miles) North-East of Moscow
Date: 15 July 2017
The Cucumber Festival takes place annually in midsummer, during the harvest of vegetables in one of the most ancient Russian towns, Suzdal. It provides parades, contests and concerts, music and dancing, games and raffles, and, of course, cucumbers prepared in every way possible, making them Suzdal’s delicacies. Have you ever tasted a cucumber jam? The people here use cucumbers in thousands of different dishes, from cucumber soups, to cucumber cakes and rolls, and even cucumber drinks.
The region’s most famous entertainers perform different plays relating to cucumbers. Tourists also can buy cucumber souvenirs made of clay, wood and other materials.
One of the most important events of this festival is the cucumber eating contest, where competitors try to eat as many cucumbers as possible in the set time limit. Judging by the whole atmosphere of the festival, the winner probably receives some cucumbers as the prize.
Festivities. Photo by Andrey Atulkov
Once the Cucumber Festival is over, Suzdal returns to its routine of a provincial town barely modernized since its heyday back in the 11 -13th centuries. Suzdal will introduce to you another Russia; you can witness the rustic lifestyle of a peripheral town that tourists rarely see in the big cities. Suzdal will fascinate you with its white-stone walls, riverside convents and monasteries, as well as typical Russian wooden architecture around the main treasure-trove – Suzdal's Kremlin.
The Kremlin in the town of Suzdal
A wander around Suzdal will give you a glimpse of medieval Russia, with the decorative wooden frames of the houses, magnificent 12th-13th-century buildings and vegetable gardens that feed many local families.
If we inspired you to step back in time and experience an authentic and tranquil atmosphere of this provincial town, why not to contact our specialists to arrange your trip to Suzdal and find out all your options?
On the main image: Spaso-Evfimiyev Monastery, photo by Yuree Markevich.