Pioneers have shaped U.S history through their long journey across the plains and Rocky Mountains. However, besides learning about it in history class, not many people know that pioneers helped shape much of the history of our states and how they identify in today’s world. Pioneer Day is what it says; it’s all about the pioneers!
But not just any pioneers – the Church of Latter-Day Saints have much involvement in the expansion of the United States and because of their long travels, the Mormons now exist as a Christian religious sect that helped form what we know today as the state of Utah.
Learn about Pioneer Day
Pioneer Day has been created in order to commemorate the day the very first group of Mormon pioneers came to Salt Lake Valley. While the date is considered an official state holiday in Utah, there are also celebrations around the world. After all, pioneers come in many different shapes and forms, and so a lot of people use this date to celebrate pioneers in a broader context, while also paying tribute to the Mormon pioneers in the process. For the Mormon faith, though, it is an especially important date. Nevertheless, local people also consider it important in terms of recognizing everyone who has contributed to the state, irrespective of their background or their religion.
History of Pioneer Day
Commemorating the first arrival of Mormon pioneers to Salt Lake Valley, it is considered to be an official Utah state holiday. The Mormons were led by Brigham Young, the second president of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints from 1847 until 1877.
Young and the group of Mormon were considered to be the first people to establish Utah as their homeland, traveling from Nauvoo, Illinois in fear of persecution. Their travels were sparked by the murder of their prophet and leader Joesph Smith in June of 1844. Making across the plains of the midwest and over the cliffs of the Rocky Mountains, many lost members due to disease from the cold winter months.
Once they reached Utah, they began farming and sending messages back to inform other members of the Church that “the promised land” was found. Two years later, a small gathering was held to celebrate their arrival.
The holiday had continued to expand as Mormons continued to push west. Utah is considered to have one of the highest populations of Mormons in the country, alongside states such as Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Idaho.
Throughout the day, people shut down their offices and businesses to attend festivals, firework displays, pageants, cookouts, and rodeos. Some also go out dressed like pioneers and reenact the events of the western expansion.
How to Celebrate Pioneer Day
Celebrate Pioneer Day by learning about the Mormons! Take a look into their history as a religious sect to greater your understanding of how the Mormons helped shape the United States! There are a lot of interesting and surprising facts about mormons, which you can read more about online or by picking up a book on the subject. Did you know that mormonism is actually one of the fastest-growing religions in the United States? This is something that a lot of people do not realize. However, there are over six million members, with the church claiming that roughly one million people join the religion every three years. Since the 1980s, the membership to this church has more than doubled.
You can also spend some time reading up on the different things that Mormons believe in so that you can get a better understanding of the faith. For example, most Mormons (94%) believe that the president of the LDS church is actually one of God’s prophets. They also believe that ancient prophets wrote the Book or Mormon. Most of those following this religion also believe that Jesus Christ and God the Father are two, separate physical beings. A lot of Mormons think that families can be united together for eternity in the temple ceremonies. It is certainly interesting to read up on the faith, even if you are not a follower or believer yourself. After all, it can always help to broaden our horizons and see things from a different perspective, right?
Take the day off and head on over to a rodeo or festival. Share the history of pioneers everywhere by teaching people about the importance of western expansion for the United States and share the holiday on social media.
In Salt Lake Valley, there are so many different events that go on during this date. The most famous is the Days of ‘47 Parade. This features a procession of entertainers, bands, clowns, horses, and floats. There are also Native American Celebrations, as well as The Days of ‘47 Rodeo and Float Preview Party. If you’re not based anywhere near these events, you can spend time reading up about them online and checking out the photographs that are uploaded to blogs and social media.
You can also use these events for inspiration, hosting your own event to celebrate Pioneer Day. You could turn it into an event for the entire community or you could simply have a few loved ones around to your home and enjoy Pioneer Day together. The choice is yours. However, with all of the different traditional events that go on during this date, we are sure that you will have no trouble finding something that is suitable and appropriate for you.