Home   Calendar   Holidays   the United States   Pioneer Day
Flag for USA

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.

Is Pioneer Day a Public Holiday?

Pioneer Day is a public holiday in Utah, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Pioneer Day

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.

Background

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.

Symbols

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015FriJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2016SunJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2016MonJul 25Pioneer Day observedState holidayUtah
2017MonJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2018TueJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2019WedJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2020FriJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2021FriJul 23Pioneer Day observedState holidayUtah
2021SatJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2022SunJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2022MonJul 25Pioneer Day observedState holidayUtah
2023MonJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2024WedJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah
2025ThuJul 24Pioneer DayState holidayUtah

You might also like

When Is the Equinox?

When Is the Equinox?

The Vernal (Spring) Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is the Autumnal (Fall) Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. more

Try the Night Sky Map!

Try the Night Sky Map!

Find and track planets in the sky with our new Interactive Night Sky Map. Point your mobile at the sky to follow an object, or play around with the timeline. more

Coastal Alaska and the Taku inlet

Seward's Day

Seward’s Day is a state holiday in Alaska, in the United States, on the last Monday of March. more

Close up of the flag of Maryland

Maryland Day

Maryland Day commemorates the arrival of Lord Baltimore and the first colonists in Maryland, the United States, in the 17th century. more