8/17/2017

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Pioneer Day

Pioneer Day, a Utah state holiday is celebrated on July 24 each year. It is set aside to commemorate the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormons who settled Utah’s Salt Lake Valley beginning on July 24, 1847.

The historical significance of Pioneer Day for Mormons is substantial because of the bravery of the original pioneers who had to endure unimaginable hardships to escape persecution for their religious beliefs.

After the murder of their founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, on June 27, 1844, a search for a place to live and worship freely became imperative. The aim was to settle in an area that was far away and remote.

The original group of Mormons left their settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois and trekked across hundreds of miles of unexplored wilderness, mountains, desert, and plains on foot, horseback, and covered wagon to establish a homeland in which they could worship as they chose.

Many of the original settlers died on the journey but those who were left pushed on until they reached the desolate valley of the Great Salt Lake. By the end of 1847, nearly 2000 men, women, and children had made the journey and thus began the saga of the founding of the new homeland of the Mormon faith.

The first Pioneer Day was celebrated in 1849 and is now held as an annual event. On this day, the people of Utah participate in activities that include parades, picnics, concerts, fireworks displays, and other forms of celebration. Many public and private business are closed as are schools and other county and state services.

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