July 24 is an official holiday in Utah. Many Mormons celebrate Pioneer Day with reenactments of the Mormon pioneers difficult trek, flowing parades, family barbeques, and late-night fireworks. Also known as Covered Wagon Days and the Days of '47, Mormons commemorate the arrival of Brigham Young and his followers to the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847 after fleeing persecution at Nauvoo in Illinois and other settlements.
The Mormon scholar Joanna Brooks describes celebrating Pioneer Day as a young girl by donning a "pioneer calico bonnet and skirt handmade by my mother every July 24 to celebrate my great-great-grandmother and other ancestors who had come from as far away as England to build an American Zion in Utah and Idaho."
Ronda Robertson from Farmington, Utah pulls a handcart through The Needles area of southwestern Wyoming as a vivid reminder of the hardship endured by early Mormon pioneers. (Photo by Mike Nelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Crossing the swiftly moving Sweetwater River, Mormon youth grip a rope to keep them from being swept away in the current towards the end of their 10-mile trek. (Photo by Jill P. Mott/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)
The first temple built by the LDS church after their arrival in Utah is the St. George Temple.. (Photo by J Brew/Flickr, cc by-sa 2.0)