Utah's Salt Lake Valley in 1847 is commemorated.
This day is used to celebrate the bravery, strength of character and physical endurance of the original settlers.
Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers had left their settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois, after the murder of founder and prophet Joseph Smith on 27th June 1844 and journeyed west seeking refuge from religious persecution. They viewed their arrival in Utah as the founding of a Mormon homeland.
The settlers were determined to settle in an isolated region. They trekked across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains to Utah, losing a number of their party to disease during the winter months. Soon after they reached the desolate valley of Utah, they planted potatoes and turnips, and built a dam. The settlers held solemn ceremonies to consecrate the two-square-mile city, and let other followers know that the "promised land" was found.
By the end of 1847, nearly 2000 Mormons had settled in the Salt Lake Valley.
Pioneer Day was first celebrated in 1849 with a parade, band music and speeches.
Today Pioneer Day activities include fireworks, parades, picnics, rodeos and other festivities throughout the state. Children take part in essay contests and projects about pioneers, while families enjoy the day with concerts and festivals. For the parades, some people may wear costumes that resemble clothes worn during the 19th century when Salt Lake Valley was founded.