compass image and text: Culture Quest World Tour Ophelia Owl on the arm of Parsifal Peguin

HOLIDAYS OF RUSSIA


Russian White Nights


June 21-29:

The time of year in St. Petersburg, Russia, when the nights are so short that the sky appears white, or light grey, and twilight lasts only thirty or forty minutes. The city, with its many buildings painted in pastel shades of lavender, green, pink, and yellow, has a particularly beautiful charm in the "white" nights. The time is celebrated with a fine-arts festival that focuses on ballet and folk dancing but also includes opera and musical theater. The Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre presents its best productions of classical and Soviet ballets. Traditionally there are also performances by students of St. Petersburg's famous Vaganova School of Choreography. Concerts are given by the Symphony Orchestra of the Leningrad Philharmonic. About 250,000 people attend each year.


Russian Winter Festival


December 25-January 5:

A festival of arts and a time of holiday partying largely in Moscow, Russia, and somewhat less grandly in other cities of the former Soviet Union. In Moscow, there are circuses, performances of Russian fables for children, and other special theatrical presentations as well as traditional outdoor parties with troika (sleigh) rides, folk games, and dancing around fir trees. On New Year's eve, children wait for gifts from "Father Frost" or "Grandfather Frost," who wears a red robe and black boots and has a white bear, and a helper called Snow Girl.
In the past, Father Frost was associated with Christmas, but religious holidays were stamped out after the 1917 Revolution. The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992, signaled the revival of many of the traditions which were suppressed under Soviet leadership. Father Frost may again become a traditional Christmas figure.