What is Pioneer Day?
Pioneer Day is a public holiday in Utah, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed. It is celebrated on July 24 each year to commemorate the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in 1847. This day celebrates the bravery of the original settlers and their strength of character and physical endurance. Pioneer, as well as a legal holiday in Utah, and is considered by the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints mormons in the special day, some of the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints who will join the mormons parade, the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints (FLDS) across the United States and the world with dinner, singing and dancing form of pioneer day celebrations.
What Do People Do?
Pioneer Day activities include fireworks, parades, picnics, rodeos and other festivities throughout the state. Some people say that this day is celebrated in Utah with more zeal and pride than major holidays such as Christmas. Children take part in essay contests and projects about pioneers, while families enjoy the day with concerts and festivals. For the parades, some people may wear costumes that resemble clothes worn during the 19th century when Salt Lake Valley was founded.
Pioneer Day is also celebrated in many parts of Idaho, where it is commonly known as Celebration Day. Family reunions are popular on or around July 24.
Pioneer Day is a state holiday in Utah so county offices (except emergency services), educational institutions, and many businesses are closed. In some areas, some public transport services, such as buses, do not run on public holidays. People are advised to check public transit schedules first before they decide to travel via public transport during a public holiday.
What’s the deal with Pioneer Day?
This day commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. The Mormon pioneers viewed their arrival as the founding of a Mormon homeland, hence Pioneer Day. The Mormons, as they were commonly known, left their settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois, and journeyed west seeking refuge from religious persecution. The final impetus for their trek was the murder of founder and prophet Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844.
Determined to settle in an isolated region, the pioneers made their way across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains to Utah. They lost many of their party to disease during the winter months. By the time that they reached Utah, the desolate valley was a welcome sight. Potatoes and turnips were soon planted, and a dam was built. With solemn ceremonies, the settlers consecrated the two-square-mile city, and sent back word that the “promised land” was found. By the end of 1847, nearly 2000 Mormons settled in the Salt Lake Valley. The first Pioneer Day was celebrated in 1849 with a parade, band music and speeches. In modern times July 24 is celebrated annually as Pioneer Day, a state holiday, in Utah.
Some extol its virtues for preserving a historic heritage. Others deride it as state sponsorship of religion. But Pioneer Day often managed to stir up strong feelings in one way or another.
Children raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — even outside the Beehive State — typically know the story behind Pioneer Day, a state holiday for Utah. Celebrated each year on July 24, it commemorates the day in 1847 that early LDS leader Brigham Young arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, looked out at the landscape of the Salt Lake Valley stretching out below and declared, “This is the right place, drive on.”
While it is celebrated on July 24 because of that particular moment, the day recognizes the arrival of all Mormon pioneers who fled religious persecution in the Midwest, made a grueling journey across the plains and built a new home in what was initially the territory of Deseret, taken from a term for honeybees in the Book of Mormon (hence “The Beehive State”).
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