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Scarlet Sails Festival takes place in Russia despite coronavirus pandemic

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Scarlet Sails Festival takes place in Russia despite coronavirus pandemic
Copyright  Dmitri Lovetsky/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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In Russia, the Scarlet Sails festival in honour of school graduates took place in St Petersburg on Saturday.

The annual event is marked by a spectacular fireworks show, numerous musical performances and a huge water display.

The show took place this year under strict health restrictions due to the pandemic.

There were no spectators, and ships had to sail through the Gulf of Finland instead of on the Neva River.

"I feel a little bit disappointed, said one woman, "but I think it is the right decision not to celebrate today because it is very dangerous"

The concert and shows were broadcast on television for millions of graduates across Russia.

The tradition began in 1968 when several Leningrad schools united to celebrate the end of the school year in connection with the symbolism of the popular 1922 children's book Scarlet Sails by Alexander Grin.

The tradition interrupted in later Soviet period but was again reborn since 2005 when St Petersburg authorities realised the tourist attraction potential of the event.