Šiauliai days: then and now

The Resurrection Square, the Resurrection Square's observation building
Opened on August 19th
Free admission

For the first time, the place name “Soule” was mentioned in the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle, where the Battle of Saule, which took place on 22 September 1236, was described. This date is considered to be the founding day of the city of Šiauliai, and the city’s birthday is counted from this date.

In the year 1986, the birthday celebration of Šiauliai city was held for the first time, when the city celebrated its 750th anniversary. In that year, the city was decorated with the Sundial square and the sculpture of “The Archer” created by sculptor Stanislovas Kuzma (1947-2012). On Vilnius Street, the section of the boulevard from “The Cock Clock” to the “Šiauliai” Hotel was opened, and “Saulė” Cinema was decorated with a stained glass window “The Battle of the Sun 1236” created by Kazimieras Morkūnas (1925-2014). The logo of the festival was also created that year.

The whole city got involved in the organization of Šiauliai Days: trading companies decorated shop windows, factories prepared historical compositions, and fairs were organized. Even today, fairs play an important role in city events and celebrations, as they have a lot of goods for everyone’s taste. However, today’s fairs are different from the first ones – in those days, it was an open-air trade near shops, the sales areas were decorated with logos and posters. For the traders, the preparation process was probably more important than the trade itself, even though the fair had no shortage of buyers and visitors who just stopped to look at and to speak with.

At the first celebration, the parade of cars presented by the city’s factories was also organized. On parade, the students and kindergarteners marched with masks and balloons.

The reflections of the city’s first birthday celebration “Šiauliai Days 750” reach us from the photographs of Antanas Dilys, Vaidotas Kisiels and Aleksandrs Ostašenkovas, which are exhibited in the Photography Museum of Šiauliai “Aušros” Museum. Each of these photographers did an invaluable work of capturing time with their own unique look.

Since then, the city’s birthday celebration has been held every year. This is one of the most important events in the city, which is attended by both city residents, city guests, and returning students. The holiday seems to invite former Šiauliai residents to return home for a while. During the celebration, the concerts of the groups of the Cultural Center, educational and other institutions, guests of the city are organized; book presentations, lectures, exhibitions, and many other events take place. You have to hurry up if you want to see all events, and if you have missed some of them – you can see the photos. Photographers Algirdas Musneckis and Giedrius Baranauskas, like chroniclers, help us returning to the reality of that past.

The traditions of Šiauliai birthday celebration have varied from year to year. The date of the celebration changed due to weather conditions. It was brought forward, and a new highlights of the celebration appeared.

Since the year 2000 a new and very important tradition of the holiday was established – the announcement of an honorary citizen of the city of Šiauliai. For special merits and efforts, for an exceptional contribution to various areas of development of Šiauliai city, the most outstanding, most deserving person is selected and given the title of honorary citizen of Šiauliai.

During the preparation of the city’s 765th birthday, there was an idea to roast a bull in the central city square according to old traditions. However, this, although a very exotic 300-year-old tradition, did not catch on.

Festive processions always added a lot of charm to the city’s birthday. Non-governmental organizations, kindergartens, schools, and the university were actively involved in this activity. Šiauliai Cultural Center has been organizing the processions for several years. The procession changes every year, it is intriguing. Not only companies, but also bikers and vintage car collectors willingly participate in it, so the procession has become a motorized column.

Thanks to a large group of photography professionals and amateurs, the photographers of “Photography House”, who more often call themselves the “Household Deities”, we have the images representing the city of Šiauliai, which comprehensively characterize the uniqueness of Šiauliai days.


The exhibition was organized by Šiauliai Cultural Center

Facilitated by Giedrius Baranauskas, Algirdas and Birutė Musneckiai,

Šiauliai “Aušros” Museum, association “Photography House”


Atnaujinta: 2022-12-29 08:27