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Pioneer Day in the United States

Pioneer Day is a state holiday in Utah in the United States. It is celebrated on July 24 each year to commemorate the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in 1847. This day celebrates the bravery of the original settlers and their strength of character and physical endurance.

Pioneer Day
Pioneer Day remembers the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah's Salt Lake Valley.
Pioneer Day remembers the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah's Salt Lake Valley.
©iStockphoto.com/Patricia Hofmeester

What Do People Do?

Pioneer Day activities include fireworks, parades, picnics, rodeos and other festivities throughout the state. Some people say that this day is celebrated in Utah with more zeal and pride than major holidays such as Christmas. 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.

Pioneer Day is also celebrated in many parts of Idaho, where it is commonly known as Celebration Day. Family reunions are popular on or around July 24.

Public Life

Pioneer Day is a state holiday in Utah so county offices (except emergency services), educational institutions, and many businesses are closed.  In some areas, some public transport services, such as buses, do not run on public holidays. People are advised to check public transit schedules first before they decide to travel via public transport during a public holiday.


This day commemorates the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. The Mormon pioneers viewed their arrival as the founding of a Mormon homeland, hence Pioneer Day. The Mormons, as they were commonly known, left their settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois, and journeyed west seeking refuge from religious persecution. The final impetus for their trek was the murder of founder and prophet Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844.

Determined to settle in an isolated region, the pioneers made their way across the plains and over the Rocky Mountains to Utah. They lost many of their party to disease during the winter months. By the time that they reached Utah, the desolate valley was a welcome sight. Potatoes and turnips were soon planted, and a dam was built. With solemn ceremonies, the settlers consecrated the two-square-mile city, and sent back word that the “promised land” was found. By the end of 1847, nearly 2000 Mormons settled in the Salt Lake Valley. The first Pioneer Day was celebrated in 1849 with a parade, band music and speeches. In modern times July 24 is celebrated annually as Pioneer Day, a state holiday, in Utah.


The beehive became the official state emblem on March 4, 1959. Utah’s residents relate the beehive symbol to industry and the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance. The beehive was chosen as the emblem for the provisional state of Deseret in 1848 and was maintained on the seal of the state of Utah when Utah became a state in 1896.

“Industry” officially became the state motto on March 4, 1959. It is associated with the symbol of the beehive. The early pioneers had few material resources at their disposal and had to rely on their own “industry” to survive. The word “industry” appears on both the state seal and the state flag.

Pioneer Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
FriJul 232010Pioneer Day observedState holidayUtah
SatJul 242010Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
SunJul 242011Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
MonJul 252011Pioneer Day observedState holidayUtah
TueJul 242012Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
WedJul 242013Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
ThuJul 242014Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
FriJul 242015Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
SunJul 242016Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
MonJul 252016Pioneer Day observedState holidayUtah
MonJul 242017Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
TueJul 242018Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
WedJul 242019Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
FriJul 242020Pioneer DayState holidayUtah

Quick Facts

Pioneer Day is an annual state holiday in Utah in the United States. It is celebrated to honor the pioneers who demonstrated industry and bravery when they ventured to settle in a place that is now Salt Lake City.

Pioneer Day 2018

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 (local in Utah)

Pioneer Day 2019

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 (local in Utah)


Name in other languages

Pioneer DayEnglish
Día de Los PionerosSpanish
יום פיונירHebrew
يوم بايونيرArabic
개척자의 날Korean
Tag der PioniereGerman

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in July 2018 in the United States

Fun Holiday on July 24, 2018

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