Pioneer Day in Utah Date in the current year: July 24, 2024

Pioneer Day in Utah Pioneer Day is an official holiday in the U.S. state of Utah. It is celebrated on July 24 to commemorate the day in 1847 when Brigham Young led the first group of Mormon settlers into the Salt Lake Valley and established a settlement that would become Salt Lake City.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, was founded by Joseph Smith in the early 19th century. Smith and his early followers originally lived in Missouri, but they had to move to Nauvoo, Illinois because of persecution.

However, Mormons couldn’t avoid conflict with the locals in Illinois either. In 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyram were arrested and charged with riot and then with treason. On July 24, 1844, the Smith brothers were killed by a mob while awaiting trial in prison.

After a succession crisis, Smith’s close associate Brigham Yang became the new leader of the Latter Day Saint movement. Conflicts between Mormons and other Illinois residents continued to escalate, so Young had to relocate his followers to the west. The first group of Mormons left Nauvoo in February 1847 and headed west along the north side of the Platter River. Their route is now known as the Mormon Trail.

On July 24, 1847, the settlers reached the Salt Lake Valley (then part of Mexico), where they founded a settlement that would become Salt Lake City. By December, over two thousand Mormons had moved to the region. Several hundred pioneers returned east to lead new groups to the Salt Lake Valley.

In 1849, the Mormon pioneers proposed the creation of a provisional state in the Salt Lake Valley. The State of Deseret was never officially recognized by the federal government because Young and other church elders did not follow the required steps toward statehood.

As a compromise, the United States government created the Utah Territory in September 1850. It encompassed a portion of northern Deseret. Young became the first governor of Utah. Deseret was officially dissolved in April 1851, although several attempts were subsequently made to reinstate the state.

The inaugural Pioneer Day was celebrated in 1849 to commemorate the second anniversary of the Mormon pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. The celebration was temporarily suspended during the American Civil War, when Utah was occupied by federal troops, but the tradition was revived when Abraham Lincoln adopted a hands-off policy on Utah in 1862.

Today, Pioneer Day is an official holiday in Utah. Its celebration includes parades, rodeos, fireworks, and other festivities. Despite its long history and popularity, the holiday has been criticized for its lack of inclusiveness, since it has strong ties with the LDS movement, although there were non-Mormon pioneers in Utah as well.

As a result, some Utahns observe an alternative holiday they named Pie and Beer Day, because “pie and beer” sounds like “pioneer”. They admit that it does make fun of Mormon culture a bit, but it is not meant to offend those who prefer the traditional Pioneer Day.

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Pioneer Day in Utah, holidays in Utah, holidays in the United States, state holidays, Mormon pioneers, Pie and Beer Day