St. Petersburg made festivals and celebrated not only state or metropolitan holidays. Various summer amusements and celebrations gained a great traction after the difficulties concerning adoption of a new conduct of life.
In such a way, under the rule of Peter the Great not only courts, but also townsmen were involved in his favourite entertainment - boating. The passion of the emperor became not only fashionable, but also obligatory for all that of its own accord resulted in certain tradition following for the people to the preferences of entertainments and interests of power brokers. Well, summer amusements of Peter the Great are boating, ceremonial launchings, and indispensable open air celebrations in the Summer Garden. The autocrat on great favor distributed boats, yachts, iceboat and also with own hand made the serious instruction on vessels control on Neva – sailing directions for the citizens.
In the holiday appointed by the emperor all the vessels belonged to courts (disobedience was rigidly punished!) had to "arrive" to the Peter-Paul Fortress. In all four ends of the city the holiday was celebrated by flag raising, that served as a signal to the beginning of performance.
Vessels of the participants had to be brightly decorated, in the place they established swing and invited musicians. The cannot shot of the fortress gave a sign to the beginning of swimming, the festive flotilla was headed by the admiral Apraksin, it holily moved forward the place appointed this time – Peterhof, Strelna or Kronshtadt. Having proceeded with music to the point of arrival, all guests went to plentifully compelled tables where the magnificent feast followed. And later dances or walks began. In the deep evening the festive procession came back to St.-Petersburg.
However all the fun conceived by Peter the Great often turned out to be painful for its participants. The accustomed St. Petersburg's rains brought down the unmerciful waters on powders and elegant dresses, ladies could not get used to blue water, many of them just suffered from naupathia. The absence of professional administration skills concerning ship handling subjected heaps of people to grave dangers, however the emperor's will was the rigorous law that should be executed cheerfully as it was impossible to shrug off the imperial entertainments.
Celebrations in the Summer Garden that were held there practically every weekend demanded the same abidance principle. In what connection the on celebrations attendance was compulsory not only for noblemen, but also all for citizens of the highest and middle class. The holiday began at 5 o'clock p.m. also with the gun signal. There was no famous grating of the Summer Garden yet, three long wooden galleries with boat ramps swept from Neva. All the guests who came by boats, touched the land, bended boats to stakes and, climbing the central gallery, in the beginning approached the ladies' platform. There the queen welcomed everyone, bringing on a cup of vodka or a glass of wine which should be drunk for the emperor's health. After that the newly arrived appeared at eyes of Peter the Great on boatswain's platform.
It must be noted that Peter the Great failed to abide by a strict subordination and plainly treated some people just taking a seat to play checkers with them, and other guests were simply forced disperse round the garden.
However celebrations in the Summer Garden were scheduled in advance too. As a rule, in the beginning everything was played as the performance "based on Europe". Arrival of guests had to remind Venice, and walks in garden – the Versailles. The garden was also built on the model of its French predecessor – Formal Park, cut bushes and clipped trees between which the European clothes, wigs and ladies' fans were seen.
In an hour after the beginning, at 6 o'clock p.m. the Summer Garden was locked, and all the guests were isolated from the whole world and sucked into the process of performance. Certainly, nobody had an opportunity to leave recreational event without a personal emperor's permission and indeed hardly anybody would risk asking about it.
And thus the guardsmen with special stretchers came to the celebration place. The stretchers were filled with wine tubs. Guests had to drink liquor of wine for a health of the tsar once more, and execution of a ritual was monitored by one certain person – the Major of a guard. It is interesting fact that even ladies were not released from it, the queen drank a liquor of wine too, and she was the first who took several sips of wine!
And further there already was a real Russia, all "Venice" and "Versailles" had a rest on the berth and in garden fountains.
Guests passed to the boards that were filled side to the avenue of a garden. They were laden with drinks, snack and sweets. The whole barrels of vodka and beer stood nearby. With onset of the twilight illumination of a garden locked in and people began to dance. They presented foreign treats to ladies – coffee with almonds and chocolate, tea, and to men - the never-ending beer or wine. Certainly, to the festival's final everybody got dead-drunk. Guests finished dances with the already moved-down wigs and being fluffy. At midnight the fireworks began, and therefore the gate opened – everybody could call it a night.
It is necessary to say that at similar Petrine amusements illumination and fireworks were an indispensable component. This tradition continued also the next decades of the 18th century. At that time the whole commission of master fire workers worked on fireworks art, and it was really complex and great art. Even the emperor was involved in the team of fire workers. The night sky of Petrine celebrations was painted in mysterious birds and animals, even soaring deities and mysterious characters and magnificent crews that moved majestically appeared in darkness of night. Peter the Great created the real magic of fire, sound and color.
After Peter the Great there also were new types of pleasure funs and various celebrations which also kept the huge action scale and the width of embodied plans. The St. Petersburg's city holidays over time were specially organized also for commoners, especially popular were the so-called "women’s kingdoms".