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.
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!
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.