Founded on one of Russia ‘s oldest folk traditions – celebrating the on-coming spring at the end of winter – but also incorporating the Christian tradition of pancakes in advance of Lent, the Maslenitsa Festival in March is the time to indulge on blini – or pancakes, in the shape of the sun of course!
The sun barely sets in St. Petersburg in spring and well past midnight the spires and domes of the city’s majestic architectural treasures are bathed in a magical twilight. How better to celebrate this ethereal white light than at a month-long cultural festival of the greatest opera, ballet and classical music on earth. Held during May and June, the White Nights festival features Russia ‘s greatest choreographers and composers. The Kirov Opera at the Mariinsky Theatre and the ballet at the Bolshoi are highlights, but even if you don’t see these, the entire city is alive with music, opera and dance performances in small theatres, parks and courtyards.
Sabantuy is a June summer festival dating back to the Volga Bulgarian epoch. At first, Sabantuy was a festival of farmers in rural areas, but it later became a national holiday and now is widely celebrated in the cities. Traditional activities such as horse-racing, and wrestling stand alongside more unusual pursuits!
Attracting around 300,000 drinkers each year, the St Petersburg Beer Festival brings together many of the nation’s favourite tipples together for this celebration of beer. In addition to the many beers on sale, there’s a full programme of entertainment during June, including live music, dancing and fireworks. Growing in size and stature with each festival, every year a growing number of foreign travellers make the trip to the festival to soak up the fun atmosphere and entertainment.
Held over the first weekend in September, Moscow City Day celebrates the birth of the Russian capital with a series of parades and entertainment events. The celebrations begin with a procession of floats and city officials along Tverskaya Street and finishing at the Kremlin. Other celebratory events taking place over the weekend include fun fairs, street entertainers, sports contests and live music; and there are plenty of food and drink stalls lining the streets.
A popular Christmas-time event, the Moscow Winter Festival celebrates the winter season with a series of events that includes traditional folk shows, live music and cultural performances. Moscow ‘s Izmailovsky Park is transformed into a winter wonderland for the festival which encourages all visitors to get involved in the celebrations and offers visitors a great opportunity to learn more about Russian customs and traditions
The Russian Winter Festival takes place across main cities in Russia every year (equating to the 12 days of the western Christmas). In Moscow , tourists are offered diverse opportunities to get acquainted with traditions of the New Year festivities in Russia , to hear world famous singers and musicians and see the best performances.