Pioneer Day celebrates the time Brigham Young brought the Mormons west to Salt Lake City.
Many people have never heard of Pioneer Day, but it is a very special occasion for those that follow the Mormon faith or live in Utah. Celebrated every year on the 24th of July, Pioneer Day, also known as the Days of ’47, commemorates the great sacrifices that were made by the Mormons of the past, specifically the pilgrimage to Salt Lake City in 1847, so that future generations could have their own religious freedom.
The United States of America was historically full of religious movements that had sailed to those shores in search of complete religious freedom, and yet when the Church of Latter Day Saints began to be established, they received fierce opposition from other parts of the Church. Eventually, after mobs started to follow the Mormon believers wherever they went, a prophet for the Mormon believers called Brigham Young decided that enough was enough. He organized the move for all Mormon people to go west, and they ended up in Salt Lake City in 1847.
That brave decision by an entire generation of Mormons meant that they could live in relative peace and calm. Mormons today celebrate it because it started the real flourishing of their faith, and gave them the freedom to practice their beliefs without hindrance. Today, when Mormons celebrate Pioneer Day, they remember the great challenges that their spiritual and actual ancestors faced. During the celebrations, many Mormons will attend musical concerts that commemorate the actions of the Pioneers in song and dance. Many of them will put on re-enactments, and some will even go back to Salt Lake City themselves. It is a time for family, and for celebrating together.
In 2001, President Gordon B. Hinckley stated on Pioneer Day: “Let us remember with gratitude and reverent respect those who have gone before us, who paid so dear a price in laying the foundation that which we enjoy this day.”