Pioneer Day: Mormons, Utahns recall a journey with concerts, parades & fireworks

NOTE: Several Pioneer Day activities take place prior to July 24, such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s concert, which will be live streamed on mormontabernaclechoir.org at 8 p.m. on July 21.

Crowd in park outside, casual

A town dinner in Monroe, Utah, on Pioneer Day. Phot by Ken Lund, courtesy of Flickr

TUESDAY, JULY 24: Across the state of Utah and in Mormon communities worldwide, Pioneer Day marks the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley. Parades, fireworks, rodeos, carnivals and more accompany festivals in Utah—and also in Colorado, New Mexico, Hawaii and Canada. On this date in 1847, Brigham Young and his followers ended a thousand-mile search for a permanent settlement and an escape from religious persecution. Many voyagers didn’t survive the difficult journey, and on Pioneer Day, Utahns pay homage to all pioneers—Mormon or not. Across Utah, many governmental offices and places of business are closed for the state holiday.

Portions of the Mormon Trail are reenacted each year in Utah, and an elaborate Days of ’47 festival envelops the entire city of Salt Lake each July. If you’re traveling through Utah at this time of year, you’re in for a treat!

FROM NAUVOO, ILLINOIS TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

In the final months before their journey West, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could feel the growing tension. They were no longer welcome in Nauvoo, Illinois, and when their founder—prophet Joseph Smith—was murdered on June 27, 1844, the need to leave became urgent. The Mormons left their settlement in Nauvoo for a new homeland, and after a treacherous journey, the surviving pilgrims crossed into Salt Lake City on July 24. (Find resources, historical photographs and more with links from the state of Utah.) The first statewide Pioneer Day celebration was held a decade later, in 1857, and July 24 remains a state holiday in Utah to this day.

Black-and-white photo of pioneers in covered wagons

Mormon pioneers, July 1847. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A PIONEER-ERA CELEBRATION

Many participants reenact a portion of the Mormon trail each year near July 24, trekking several miles to make the grand entrance into Salt Lake City by handcart.

For Utahns, the Days of ’47 festival commemorates the entire region’s culture and history—not just those of the Mormon pioneers. (The pioneer era is considered to have ended in 1869 with the arrival of the transcontinental railroad.) Significant settlers in Utah’s pioneer history are celebrated, an Intertribal Powwow lights up Liberty Park in Salt Lake City and parades, fireworks and rodeos fill the streets and grounds of Salt Lake in the days surrounding July 24.

THE MORMON TABERNACLE CHOIR EMBRACES BROADWAY

The height of Mormon activities is the grand performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which this year will feature a former star of “Glee” and a Broadway performer: Matthew Morrison and Laura Michelle Kelly, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Morrison and Kelly were co-stars in the Broadway production of “Finding Neverland,” and they will be performing in Broadway-themed Pioneer Day concerts July 20 and 21. In addition, Morrison and Kelly will appear on the July 22 broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word.”

Watch online: The concert will be live streamed on mormontabernaclechoir.org at 8 p.m. on July 21. On-demand videos of the concert in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German will be available by July 30 on motab.org/pioneerday.

This year, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Pioneer Day performances will also include an appearance by Oscar Hammerstein III, grandson of the lyricist and music theater producer, who will narrate a portion of the program.

Ready for some pioneer fun at home? Try out these creative pioneer crafts for kids, courtesy of the Crafty Crow.

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Categories: Mormon

Pioneer Day: Mormons celebrate Brigham Young and Salt Lake City

Hundreds of members of Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform in Mormon Temple

Broadway’s former “Cinderella” star performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for this year’s Pioneer Day concerts. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

FRIDAY, JULY 24: Across the state of Utah and in Mormon communities worldwide, Pioneer Day marks the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley. Parades, fireworks, rodeos, carnivals and more accompany festivals in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Hawaii and Canada. On this date in 1847, Brigham Young and his followers ended a thousand-mile search for a permanent settlement and an escape from religious persecution. (Wikipedia has details.) Many voyagers didn’t survive the difficult journey, and on Pioneer Day, Utahns pay homage to all pioneers—Mormon or not. Across Utah, many governmental offices and places of business are closed for the state holiday.

Did you know? Some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reenact the entrance of pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, by handcart, each Pioneer Day. Annually, Pioneer Days draws approximately 250,000 people.

This year, activities for Pioneer Day in Salt Lake City began a week before July 24, brimming with live music, pioneer heritage activities, pancake breakfasts and more. (Read more in the Salt Lake Tribune.) For Ogden Pioneer Days, Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke during the annual devotional, referencing the Sermon on the Mount when he spoke of the need for reconciliation, forgiveness and a culture of community. (Deseret News has the story.) In contrast to Mormon-centered activities, some bars and restaurants are gearing up for “Pie ‘n’ Beer Day,” a homophonic allusion to Pioneer Day that is based in Utah. Non-Mormons who reported feeling out of place during the Pioneer Day activities say that they now have a place to go on July 24. (New York Times reported.)

NEWS: TEMPLE OPEN FOR TOURS, A NEW ELDER & CINDERELLA SINGING

Following three years of construction on a 34,000-square-foot building, Mormonism’s newest temple, will be open for tours to non-Mormons in Indiana through August 8. During the past decade, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has only opened three or four temples worldwide each year, reaching a total of 147. Despite reports that the religion’s numbers are declining, officials expect that the temple in Indiana will host 75,000 visitors before closing its doors to non-Mormons, at which time it will serve approximately 30,000 Mormons in the state. (Read more from USA Today, Fox News and Indianapolis Monthly.)

With the death of 90-year old Boyd Packer, it has been reported that Russell Nelson will take over the position of president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the second-highest governing body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a statement, the Church said that the apostles have “heavy administrative responsibilities as they oversee the orderly progress and development of the global church.”

Broadway star Laura Osnes, best known for her role as “Cinderella,” joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra for its Pioneer Day concert July 17 and 18. (Watch a video of the performance here.) Prior to the performances, Osnes—nominated for a Tony Award and recipient of several other awards—described her excitement in performing with such a renowned and enormous group. (Read more here.)

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Categories: Mormon

Interfaith Calendar: Religious and Cultural Observances

Read The Spirit reports on major holidays, festivals, milestones and other observances that shape community life around the world. As we approach these special dates, our columnist Stephanie Fenton reports fresh stories about the way each milestone is marked. Please remember: DATES and OBSERVANCES VARY.

Here is our 2018 list …

March 2018

1—St. David of Wales (Christian)

2—Nineteen Day Fast begins (Baha’i)

Piles ofcolored powder in silver bowls

Photo courtesy of MaxPixel

2—Holi (Hindu)

2/3—Hola Mohalla (Sikh)

3—Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Day) (Japan)

9—Sunset, National Day of Unplugging

11—Daylight Savings Time begins

13—L. Ron Hubbard birthday (Scientology)

17—St. Patrick’s Day (Christian)

18—Ugadi (New Year) (Hindu)

18—Ramayana (Hindu)

19—St. Joseph’s Day (Christian)

20—Equinox

20—Ostara / Mabon (Wicca, Pagan)

21—Norooz (New Year) / Naw-Ruz (New Year) (Persian/Zoroastrian, Baha’i)

25—Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Orthodox Christian)

25—Palm Sunday (Christian)

25—Ramanavami (Hindu)

28—Khordad Sal (Birth of Zarathushtra) (Zoroastrain)

29—Maundy Thursday (Christian)

29—Baseball Opening Day

30—Good Friday (Christian)

Plate with six compartments for egg, lettuce, bones, red sauce and pate

The Seder Plate contains symbolic items at the Passover seder table. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

30—Sunset, Pesach (Passover) begins (Jewish)

31—Holy Saturday (Christian)

31—Lazarus Saturday (Orthodox Christian)

31—Lord’s Evening Meal (Jehovah’s Witness)

31—Hanuman Jayanti (Hindu)

31—Magha Puja Day (Buddhist)

April 2018

April observances: Arab-American Heritage Month, National Poetry Month, National Library Week,

1—Easter Sunday (Christian)

1—Palm Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

1—April Fools Day

2—International Children’s Book Day / Hans Christian Andersen’s Birthday

2—Easter Monday (Christian)

3—Mahavir Jayanti (Jain)

6—Holy Friday (Orthodox Christian)

6—National Tartan Day (Scottish cultural celebration)

8—Pascha (Easter) (Orthodox Christian)

9—Annunciation (Christian)

11—Sunset, Yom HaShoah (Jewish)

12—Sunset, Lailat al Miraj (Islam)

14—Baisakhi (Vaisakhi) (Sikh)

15—Tax Day

17—Sunset, Yom HaZikaron (Jewish)

18—Akshaya Tritiya (Hindu, Jain)

18—Sunset, Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Jewish)

21—First Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

21—National Tea Day (UK)

22—Earth Day

22—National Jelly Bean Day

25—Administrative Professionals Day (also known as Secretaries’ Day)

26—Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day

26—National Pretzel Day

27—Arbor Day

28—Sunset, Ninth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

29—Visakha Puja (Buddha Day) (Buddhist)

30—Screen Free Week

30—New Year (Theravada Buddhist)

30—Sunset, Lailat al Bara’ah (Islam)

May 2018

May observances: Jewish American Heritage Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, special Catholic devotions to Virgin Mary and National Bike Month.

1—Beltane / Samhain (Wicca, Pagan)

1—Sunset, Twelfth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

1—World Asthma Day

2—Sunset, Lag B’Omer (Jewish)

3—National Day of Prayer, U.S. (Interfaith) / National Day of Reason (secular)

4—Star Wars Day

Open-face carnitas with soft corn tortillas and shredded meat, cilantro and tomatoes

Mexican carnitas. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

5—Cinco de Mayo

6—Nurses’ Day

6—Free Comic Book Day

6—World Laughter Day

8—National Teacher Day

10/13—Ascension of the Lord (Ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha and Philadelphia, May 10; all other U.S. Ecclesiastical provinces, May 13)

13—Mother’s Day

13—National Skilled Nursing Care Week begins

13—Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) (Jewish)

15—Peace Officers Memorial Day

15—International Day of Families (United Nations)

16—Ramadan begins after sunset on May 15, so the first day of the fast is May 16 (Islam)

16—St. Brendan’s Day (Christian)

17—Ascension (Orthodox Christian)

18—International Museum Day

19–Sunset, Shavuot (Jewish)

19—Armed Forces Day

20—Pentecost (Christian)

20—Emergency Medical Services Week begins

21—Whit Monday (Christian)

22—Sunset, Declaration of the Bab (Baha’i)

27—Pentecost (Orthodox Christian)

27—Trinity Sunday (Christian)

28—Sunset, Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)

28—Memorial Day (U.S.)

June 2018

2—All Saints (Orthodox Christian)

3—Corpus Christi (Christian)

6—D-Day remembrances

6—Laylat al Qadr (Islam)

8—Sacred Heart of Jesus (Catholic Christian)

9—St. Columba of Iona (Celtic Christian)

10—Sunset, Laylat al Qadr (Islam)

14—Flag Day (U.S.)

Table set fancy with bowls of dates, wraps, spices and cookies

A traditional Moroccan feast for Eid al-Fitr. Photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, courtesy of Flickr

14—Sunset, Eid al Fitr / Ramadan ends (Islam)

16—Martrydom of Guru Arjan (Sikh)

17—Father’s Day

19—New Church Day (Swedenborgian Christian)

19—Sunset, Waqf al Arafa (Hajj Day) (Islam)

19—Juneteenth

21—Solstice

21—Litha/Yule (Wicca, Pagan)

21—First Nations Day (Canadian Native People)

21—Midsummer

24—Nativity of St. John, the Baptist (Christian)

29—Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (Christian)

29—Sunset, The Three Weeks begins (Jewish)

July 2018

July is National Hot Dog Month—and a special celebration of other foods Americans love, including Fried Chicken, Chocolate and Ice Cream. Enjoy our story about these food-related observances, a column that includes lots of links to learn more about each celebration.

4—Independence Day (U.S.)

8—Sunset, Martyrdom of the Bab (Baha’i)

Red and yellow lit lanterns on string

Photo by Fabian Reus, courtesy of Flickr

13—Obon/Ullambana (Buddhist, Shinto)

15—St. Vladimir the Great Day (Orthodox Christian)

21—Sunset, Tisha B’Av (Jewish)

23—Birthday of Haile Selassie (Rastafari)

24—Pioneer Day (Mormon Christian)

26—Sunset, Tu B’Av (Jewish)

27—Asalha Puja Day (Buddhist)

August 2018

1—Lammas (Christian)

1—Fast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) (Orthodox Christian)

2—Lughnassadh/Imbolc (Wicca, Pagan)

6—Feast of the Transfiguration (Christian)

6—Transfiguration of the Lord (Orthodox Christian)

9—World Indigenous Peoples Day

15—Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Catholic Christian)

15—Dormition of the Theotokos (Orthodox Christian)

17—Birth anniversary of Marcus Garvey (Rastafari)

19—The Hajj (Islam)

20—Sunset, Eid al-Adha (Islam)

29—Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)

September 2018

1—Ecclesiastical year begins (Orthodox Christian)

3—Labor Day (U.S.)

Painted blue Lord Krishna, smiling, amid swirls

Lord Krishna depicted in wood. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

3—Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)

6—Paryushan Parva begins (Jain) (Dates may vary by region and sect)

8—Nativity of the Virgin Mary (Christian)

9—Sunset, Rosh Hashana (Jewish)

9—National Grandparents Day

11—Sunset, Hijra (New Year) (Islam)

11—Patriot Day (U.S.)

13—Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu)

14—Holy Cross Day (Christian)

14—Paryushan Parva (Jain)

18—Sunset, Yom Kippur (Jewish)

20—Sunset, Ashura (Islam)

22—Equinox

22—Mabon/Ostara (Wicca, Pagan)

23—Sunset, Sukkot (Jewish)

23—Anant Chaturdashi (Hindu)

27—Meskel (Ethiopian Orthodox Christian)

29—St. Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas) (Christian)

30—Sunset, Shemini Atzeret (Jewish)

October 2018

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

1—Sunset, Simchat Torah (Jewish)

4—St. Francis Day (Catholic Christian)

8—Thanksgiving (Canada)

9-18—Navaratri (Hindu)

19—Dussehra, Dasaera (Hindu)

19—Sunset, Birth of the Bab (Baha’i)

20—Installation of the Scriptures as Guru Granth (Sikh)

31—All Hallows Eve (Christian)

31—Halloween (secular)

31—Reformation Day (Protestant Christian)

November 2018

1—All Saints Day (Christian)

1—Samhain/Beltane (Wicca, Pagan)

1—Dia de los Muertos (Mexico)

2—All Souls Day (Catholic Christian)

4—Daylight Savings Time ends

Girl poses with candle-lit bowls of oil

A girl with diya lamps lit for Diwali. Photo by Partha Sarathi Sahana, courtesy of Flickr

7—Diwali (Hindu)

8—New Year (Jain)

8—Vikram New Year (Hindu)

9—Kristallnacht anniversary

11—Veterans Day (U.S.)

11—Sunset, Birth of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)

15—Nativity Fast begins (Orthodox Christian)

20—Sunset, Mawlid an-Nabi (Islam)

22—Thanksgiving (U.S.)

25—Christ the King (Christian)

27—Sunset, Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha (Baha’i)

December 2018

2—Advent begins (Christian)

2—Sunset, Hanukkah (Jewish)

Man with red bishop's hat and white beard waves with white gloved hand

Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

6—St. Nicholas Day (Christian)

8—Bodhi Day (Buddhist)

8—Immaculate Conception of Mary (Catholic Christian)

12—Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Catholic Christian)

16—Posadas Navidenas (Hispanic Christian)

21—Solstice

21—Yule/Litha (Wicca, Pagan)

21—Yule (Christian)

24—Christmas Eve (Christian)

25—Christmas Day (Christian)

25—Feast of the Nativity (Orthodox Christian)

26—Feast of St. Stephen (Christian)

26—Kwanzaa

28—Holy Innocents (Christian)

30—Holy Family (Christian)

31—Watch Night (Christian)

31—New Year’s Eve (secular)

 

 

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NOTE TO READERS

We continue to update this list, month by month. As you read the list, you may discover we have missed a fascinating observance or detail. If so, please email us at ReadTheSpirit@gmail.com.

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Categories: AnniversaryBaha'iBuddhistChristianFaiths of East AsiaFaiths of IndiaInterfaithInternational ObservancesJewishMormonMuslimNational ObservancesRastafari

Pioneer Day: Utahns join Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in celebration

PIONEER DAY is a longstanding tradition. This photo was taken about 1912 of a Pioneer Day re-enactment of the 1847 arrival by wagon train. Later, someone typed a caption on the front of the card. The image now is part of the Library of Congress archives, available for public use.

PIONEER DAY is a longstanding tradition. This photo was taken about 1912 of a Pioneer Day re-enactment of the 1847 arrival by wagon train. Later, someone typed a caption on the front of the card. The image now is part of the Library of Congress archives, available for public use.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 24: Don your bonnet and lace up your boots—it’s Pioneer Day in Utah, and a celebration for Mormons nationwide. On this date in 1847, Mormon pioneers settled into the Salt Lake Valley to escape religious persecution. After being forced from their home in Nauvoo, Illinois, the pilgrims embarked on a thousand-mile journey to form a new settlement. Portions of the Mormon Trail are reenacted each year in Utah, and an elaborate Days of ’47 festival envelops the entire city of Salt Lake each July. (Check out photos here.) If you’re traveling through Utah at this time of year, you’re in for a treat!

In the final months before their journey West, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could feel the growing tension. They were no longer welcome in Nauvoo, Illinois, and when their founder—prophet Joseph Smith—was murdered on June 27, 1844, something had to be done. The Mormons left their settlement in Nauvoo for a new homeland, and after a treacherous journey, the surviving pilgrims crossed into Salt Lake City on July 24. (Find resources, historical photographs and more with links from the state of Utah.) The first statewide Pioneer Day celebration was held a decade later, in 1857, and July 24 remains a state holiday in Utah to this day.

A PIONEER ERA CELEBRATION:
FROM MORMONS TO AN INTERTRIBAL POWWOW

Old man with white beard in pink shirt with suspenders and white cowboy hat

Many participants reenact a portion of the Mormon trail each year near July 24, trekking several miles to make the grand entrance into Salt Lake City by handcart. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

For Utahns, the Days of ’47 festival commemorates the entire region’s culture and history—not just those of the Mormon pioneers. (The pioneer era is considered to have ended in 1869 with the arrival of the transcontinental railroad.) Significant settlers in Utah’s pioneer history are celebrated, an Intertribal Powwow lights up Liberty Park in Salt Lake City and parades, fireworks and rodeos fill the streets and grounds of Salt Lake in the days surrounding July 24.

THE DAYS OF ’47

The height of Mormon activities is the grand performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which this year was held last Saturday and whose venue allowed 21,000 attendees to hear featured hip-hop violinist Lindsey Stirling and pop-opera tenor Nathan Pacheco, along with the famed choir. (The Salt Lake Tribune had the story.) Organizers say they “consciously chose these two artists to appeal to a younger generation, and younger people responded eagerly. Our ticket supply disappeared before our eyes.”

Today, families that camped out along the parade route last night can awaken to the parade events. (The Deseret News reports.) The Days of ’47 Youth Parade—the largest youth parade in the country—kicked off the Days of ’47 festivities on July 20, with more than 5,000 participants: marching bands, clowns, Boy Scouts of America and wards and stakes from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Ready for some pioneer fun at home? Try out these creative pioneer crafts for kids, courtesy of the Crafty Crow.

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(Originally published at www.ReadTheSpirit.com, an online magazine covering spirituality, religion, interfaith and cross-cultural issues.)

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Categories: Mormon