“Christmas in Nauvoo” Warms Hearts and Moves Feet at BYU

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PROVO — The Education in Zion exhibit brought a little pioneer holiday spirit to BYU campus last night. 

In its special FHE-based event, “Christmas in Nauvoo,” the gallery featured activities showcasing the holiday traditions of pioneer predecessors. 

“It’s kind of a celebration of how the pioneers celebrated the season. We talk about them a lot here in the gallery,” said Katie Millett, a Gallery Educator. Decked out in a crisp red bonnet and patterned green dress, the Musical Theatre pre-major got in character for her role as storyteller. Millett served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Nebraska Far West mission, where pioneer history is center stage. 

“Pioneers are the best,” Millett enthused. “It’s fun to see that Christmas–some things are different, but a lot of ways we celebrate are still the same. Still centered on family, and Christ, and having that faith and light in our lives.” 

The evening saw Christmas-themed crafts, games, songs, and a foot-stamping dance lesson. 

“I’m not very good at dancing, and I don’t usually dance in public,” shrugged Morgan Farnsworth, a Gallery Researcher and Educator. Throughout the night, she guided groups of dozens in a weaving, fast-paced dance called the Virginia Reel. “But the pioneer dancing that we do here is fun because you don’t have to be very good at it!” 

Farnsworth explained that the Scottish-origin dance dates back to the 17th century, and that people throughout the United States would have participated in the dance at the time of the pioneers. 

The event will hold one final session on Monday, December 9th, and will feature a local bell choir and a visit from Santa Claus. 

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