HOLIDAYS OF RUSSIA
Russian White Nights
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.