What is Star Wars Day? When is Star Wars Day? If you asked either of those questions during the course of today then we suggest you continue reading, because today, the nerds rule the world and you don’t want to be left out. But don’t worry, we’re here to help and give you a quick crash course of fun facts on everything you need to know about this special holiday. Happy Star Wars Day and May the 4th Be With You!
If you’ve been scrolling on the Internet on any social media platform, chances are you’ve been overwhelmed and possibly annoyed by all things Star Wars that annually occur on May 4th. The day, also dubbed Star Wars Day, derived its popular slogan—“May the 4th be with you”—from the iconic movie line “May the Force be with you.” The movie premiered in theaters on May 25, 1977. It’s a way for fans to express their love for the Star Wars saga and has gained worldwide recognition for years. In other words, it’s just a not-so-clever pun that has outpaced anyone’s expectations and doesn’t plan on going away anytime soon.
The “Force” was a power or essence that bound all things in that galaxy far, far away and contains both light and dark. The Dark Side of the Force has its own day too (but more on that later). This power was wielded mainly by Jedi Knights, such as Luke Skywalker, Yoda, and Obi Wan Kenobi. There are others who are Force-sensitive—meaning they can access the Force but may not use its full potential, to the point of min-control or telekinesis—such as Princess Leia.
What does the late “Iron Lady” have to do with Star Wars Day? You’d be surprised actually. One of the earliest pop culture references of the movie was on May 4, 1979 when the late former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, took office. On that historical day, the London Evening News congratulated Thatcher in a half-page advertisement that read, “May the Fourth Be with You Maggie.” Pretty cool, huh?
After the Thatcher incident, Star Wars Day has been unofficially celebrated around the world but has been more noticeable and increasingly popular since the advent of the Internet. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have allowed the secular holiday to be shared globally and in real-time. Fans around the world are able to connect with each other and share Star Wars Day images and celebrate the day with marathons and parties.
The first organized event to mark the day was on May 4, 2011, at the Toronto Underground Cinema. Screenings of the movie were accompanied by costume contests that were judged by local celebrities from TV and radio. To this day, Toronto still celebrates Star Wars Day and it’s bigger than ever.
Disney purchased the film rights to Lucasfilm back in late 2012, gaining ownership of the successful movie franchise from its creator, George Lucas. Since then, Disney has officiated its own version to celebrate the day by using them parks, costumes, and Star Wars-themed fireworks, thus cementing it as the phenomenon it is now.
Remember when we said there was a day for the Dark Side of the Force? Well that day is May 5th and is known as May the Sith or Revenge of the Sith, referring to the movie Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. This is the day for that fans that support Darth Vader and the other villains of the Star Wars universe.
That concludes your accelerated course on all things May 4th, so go out there and enjoy the rest of the day. And May the 4th Be with You. (If you saw that coming then the Force is strong in you, after all.)