Each year on July 24th, the State of Utah (USA) celebrates Pioneer Day to commemorate the arrival of the first Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th, 1847. This holiday is not limited to Mormons in Utah, however; many LDS members across the world take the time to remember early Saints and their sacrifices for their faith, as well as to celebrate the faith of modern-day pioneers.
Last year, we asked how Mormon women celebrate Pioneer Day. We compiled answers from several women, which can be found below. We invite other Mormon women (and men!) to share how they celebrate the holiday in the comments section.
We sometimes will have a Family Home Evening lesson about the Pioneers and how their sacrifices have blessed our family.
Last year, I had two Sister Missionaries over for dinner who were both from Tonga. I was interested in how or if they celebrated Pioneer day in their wards and stakes in Tonga. I was very surprised when they said, “Oh yes! We dress up in pioneer clothing, clog and dance, play music and remind ourselves what a blessing it was that the missionaries were sent to Tonga.”
I’d like to see pictures of those ward and stake parties!
We don’t have any particular traditions, except we usually celebrate with some simple fireworks, often with neighbors. We also try to have a lesson about the pioneers, and/or our own ancestors (every family has stories to tell!).
My most memorable Pioneer Day was after doing a 2-day, 25-mile trek when I lived on the East coast. It was so hard, but so rewarding, and helped me ponder more about how hard it must have been to trek across the barren West, often with little more than the faith that burned in their hearts.
There were some beautiful pieces of art in the international art competition display last year that touched me…that expressed how the celebration of the pioneers really isn’t just for those who live in Utah, or for those who have ancestors who were early members of the Mormon Church. The pioneers really can be an inspiration to anyone who is facing their own wildernesses in their lives. I love studying their stories and learning from their examples.
My husband is of good ol’ pioneer stock [his ancestors were Mormons, too, for generations back] and i am a convert. We discuss both types of pioneers with our kids.
We’re not great about any traditions, though. We just attend whatever the stake [a group of local ward congregations] puts on for us and we dress up. I’ve been piecing pioneer dress-up costumes together for my girls bit by bit each year. They’re excited to now have skirts to go with their bonnets and aprons!
At my house, we only eat homemade food that day and go the whole day without using electricity (except the air conditioner which my DH won’t allow to be turned off). It can be a challenge but it’s fun.