Алые паруса – Celebration of Youth and Dreams!
This night all Saint Petersburg will gather on the Neva banks to watch the stunning fireworks show and the famous ship with scarlet sails. Every years the city celebrates the end of the school year and with it as well youth, hope and dreams. Алые паруса (Alye parusa, Scarlet sails) is one of the most popular celebrations in Saint Petersburg and it takes place the brightest night of the year during the White Nights in June.
This tradition began after World War II, when all the schools decide to celebrate the ending of the school year. The story and the symbolism of the celebration comes from a childrens’ book Алые паруса (The Scarlet Sails) by Александр Грин (Aleksandr Grin) published in 1923. This is a story of love and dreams. Assol is a young girl who lives in a small fishing village, and one day meets a wizard who promises the girls that a prince will come for her in a ship with scarlet sails. In spite of the neighbors’ jokes, she strongly believes in this dream. Arthur Grey is a nobleman who chooses a see life to break away from his cruel father. Once he sets to Assol’s village port, he sees the girl and falls in love with her. When he learns about Assol’s dream, he decides to make it come true.
This year, for Alye parusa, the city will offer a concert show starting at 22:00 in Дворцо́вая пло́щадь (Dvortzovaya ploshad’). At 00:40 fireworks will be set off from platforms in front of Петропа́вловская кре́пость (Petropavlovskaya Krepost). And this year for the first time a live symphonic orchestra will accompany the fireworks show. At the same time the ship with scarlet sails, the Swedish “Tre Kronor”, will sail towards the Winter Palace along the English and the Admiralty Embarkment. Here’s the program for Alye Parusa.
For this special night the metro will work 24h, but from some metro stations, outside the very centre of the city, it will be possible only to get out and not to enter.
As for the novel “Alye Parusa”, it could be a really enjoyable and interesting reading for you since the book was published during the Soviet Union but it talks about completely different topics compared with the usual ones of that time.
In 1961, during Khrushchev’s Thaw, the novel was made into a film that increased even more its popularity. Here you can find the Russian version with English subtitles of the movie produced by Mosfilm.