Mormons, like just about everybody else, enjoy any excuse to get together with family and friends, eat, and have a good time. Wherever they live, Mormons tend to celebrate all the local holidays and national holidays. The Mormon Church also has a few days that it commemorates as part of its history.
Mormon families celebrate Christmas in accordance with the customs and traditions of the cultures in which they live. In the United States, this means that most families decorate, purchase and adorn Christmas trees, listen to secular and religious Christmas music, and participate in gift-giving. While Church leaders do not condemn any of these traditions, they urge Church members to remember that Christmas is one of the most spiritually significant days in history, along with Easter it is a celebration of God's greatest gift to mankind; his son Jesus Christ and the Atonement and Resurrection that he performed.
The Church holds a Christmas devotional every year sometime in December. Members of the First Presidency of the Church are the speakers and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir provides the music. Also every year, Temple Square in Salt Lake City is lit up with thousands upon thousands of Christmas lights.
- For more information see, Christmas
To the Mormon Church, Easter is probably the most sacred holiday. Together with Christians around the world, members of the Church take the time to especially remember Christ's atoning sacrifice and His glorious resurrection from the dead. Because the date Easter falls on fluctuates, the April General Conference of the Church occasionally coincides with Easter weekend. While keeping the Savior at the center of the holiday, Mormon families may also participate in some of the other Easter traditions, such as the Easter Bunny and plenty of candy.
Having lost most of its pagan undertones long ago, most Mormon families celebrate Halloween in some form. Children dress up and go trick-or-treating. Parties are often held for the youth or for the entire ward.
Wherever they are, Mormons certainly welcome the New Year, often with festivities and new resolutions and goals. Mormons, however, do not ring in the year with champagne or other alcoholic beverages, since these are against the Church's Word of Wisdom, or health code.
Members of the Mormon Church are thoroughly patriotic. In Mormon belief, God guided and inspired the founding fathers as they established the United States of America. Only in a land of religious freedom could the Restoration of the gospel come about. Joseph Smith recorded the Lord's words in D&C 101:80 "And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood." Mormons continue to love, defend, and uphold the Constitution.
Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday for members of the Mormon Church. Leaders of the Church are always counseling members to be grateful and give thanks to God for all His blessings. Mormons also believe strongly in the importance of family and getting together. And Mormons tend to like to eat.
As stated above, Mormons are thoroughly patriotic, and thousands of members of the Church have fought and died in the service of their country. The Church also stresses the importance of knowing and remembering our heritages, which is partly why the Church has such an extensive family history program.
While most of the following days are not recognized with big celebrations, they are nonetheless important days in Church History and are worthy of note.
Many Mormons believe that April 6th is the actual day of Jesus' birth. In 1830, on April 6th, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized. Every few years, April General Conference falls on this date. The St. George, Salt Lake, and Palmyra temples were all dedicated on this day in various years.
- For more information see, April 6
- For more information see, June 27
On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young and the first company of Mormon Pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. At least within the state of Utah, where Pioneer Day is a state holiday, the 24th is an all-out day of celebration. Parades, rodeos, and fireworks shows are held across the state. The main Days of '47 Parade held in Salt Lake is quite large and is broadcast over the local television channels. A member of the First Presidency often rides in the parade.