The International Folklore contest-festival “The Flower of the Sun” rocks Siauliai city and its districts every second year. Launched at 2005, one of the few events of its kind in Eastern Europe, this year it will take a place for the 5th time in the City of the Sun on 3-7 of July.
The festival is included in the events list of the IOV, International Organisation of Folk Art (UNESCO), and the Alliance of International Dances Festivals (FIDAF) events; it is one of the largest cultural events of the region.
Launched at 2005 and barely known to anyone at that time, the international contest-festival “The Flower of the Sun” surprised Siauliai inhabitants and guests with the variety of the festival participants from the United Kingdom, Italy, Cyprus, South Korea, Poland, Latvia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Ukraine, Slovenia.
Around 400 participants from 11 foreign countries (Greece, Spain, Latvia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Hungary) and 300 participants from Lithuania took a part in the 2nd “The Flower of the Sun” on 8-14 of July in 2007. 29 concerts took place during the contest-festival’s seven-days celebration: 18 of them in Siauliai and 11 in the district of the city.
One of the major highlights of the opening ceremony was the Mindaugas Corronation Day, where Lithuanian and foreign performers participated in that day events. The Lithuanian tricolor symbolizing balloons spread over participants have become one of the Lithuania State Day’s celebration attributes.  A flowers carpet “A crown for King Mindaugas” with the represented in it “The Flower of the Sun” and State Day symbols was created in  Šiauliai on the 14th of July. The specialists from Siauliai State choir “Polyphony” drew up a program “World’s nations’ folklore”, sacral and religious folklore was played at “From sacral folklore to...” concert in the Siauliai Cathedral. The Siauliai top-rank ensembles, representing traditional music development, performed at the “Folklore the other way” and other events.
More than 600 participants from 11 foreign countries performed at the 3rd “The Flower of the Sun” on 8-14 of July in 2009. Musical groups from Greece, Poland, Slovenia, Turkey, India, France, South Korea, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, and Lithuania took a part in the event. Over 20 musical events took place in Siauliai city and its districts during the festival. Just like the celebration if Lithuanian King Mindaugas Coronation Day, it has become a tradition to hold a folk crafts fair during the festival. The Culinary Heritage Fair was held for the first time at ‘The Flower of the Sun’; floral compositions were designed inspired by national costume themes.
The 4th “The Flower of the Sun” took a place in Siauliai on 5-12 July in 2011. Over 500 participants from 14 countries (Austria, Byelorussia, Italy, Columbia, Latvia, Poland, Nepal, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Jordan and Lithuania) took a part in the festival that time. The folklore groups were invited to perform at 25 events and to watch the competition program. Traditionally, the 4th “The Flower of the Sun” has been dedicated to the State Day commemoration, also the 775th Siauliai city anniversary celebration and to start in the preparations for the 5th TAFISA World Sport For All Games “Siauliai 2012”.
Year after year since 2005, the musical program of the “The Flower of the Sun” is expanding, diversifying, attracting attention of participants and guests more and more. The competition is held in 6 categories involving wide range of folklore performers starting from traditional folklore dancers, singing groups, solo performers, instrumentalists to stylized folklore bands.  Every year the contest is led by an authoritative international jury. “The Flower of the Sun” stands out by its status of contest-festival - the participants have a chance to perform in the festival program without taking a part in the contest.
“The Flower of the Sun” has its established traditions, activities which are carried out every year. The event always begins with the solemn participants’ parade and opening ceremony. The commemoration of Siauliai city anniversary, the State Day, the folk craft fair are the traditional festival events, where the fans of choral, sacral, chamber and other musical genres will always find what they are searching for. Year over year, various initiatives are carried out during the contest-festival – exhibitions and fairs are held, floral compositions are created.
The aim of the International Folklore contest-festival “The Flower of the Sun” is to stimulate Lithuania and other countries concernment in Lithuanian traditional culture, to develop and encourage cultural, interinstitutional collaboration, knowledge dissemination; to develop higher quality, more professional discursive approach when evaluating ethnic culture, spreading it; to to allow young artists to access and take over the Lithuanian folk traditions, to encourage young peoples’ interest in folk culture, North Lithuanian tourism, entrepreneurship.
The choragi also seek to promote the volunteering idea. The major number of volunteers comes from Siauliai University, Siauliai College and high schools.
In total, 51 folklore ensembles from 30 foreign countries and 56 Lithuanian art groups took a part in “The Flower of the Sun” since 2005.
Performers from 9 foreign countries such as Spain, Puerto Rico, Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Turkey and other groups from Lithuania will take a part in 2013 festival. This year, the contest-festival coincides with the 777th Siauliai city anniversary, contributing to The Year of Lithuanian dialects and Lithuanian chairmanship in the committee of European Union.