May 4 is a really special day for fans of the epic Star Wars franchise created by George Lucas in 1977. This date was chosen in 2011 as a witty play on words of the classic Star Wars phrase, “May the Force be with you,” transformed into, “May the 4th be with you.”
You may be surprised to hear that it was not actually a fan, or anyone involved in the production of the movies who created the pun. It was actually a journalist working for the British newspaper, The London Evening News back on May 4, 1979. He placed an ad to congratulate Conservative Party candidate, Margaret Thatcher (Maggie for short), on winning the election and becoming the country’s first female Prime Minister. The ad said, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”
Although the unofficial holiday was not created or endorsed publicly by George Lucas and his company Lucasfilm, thousands of Star Wars fans all over the world have chosen this day to celebrate. With the spread of social media, the number of fans choosing to mark the event has been growing year on year.
Disney, which now owns Lucasfilm, officially embraced and recognized the holiday in 2013.
Here are some interesting ways the holiday has been marked so far around the world:
- 2019, California: The California State Legislature actually voted officially to declare the date, Star Wars Day in conjunction with the announcement of the opening of the Star Wars Galaxy Edge ride at Disneyland in Anaheim.
- 2018, Paris, France: A unique exhibition called Les Fans Contreattaquent (the fans strike back) was set up by a local artist, Daniel Prada who displayed unique Star Wars themed art pieces made by fans from all over the globe.
- 2017 Tokyo, Japan: A Star Wars Day event was held at the Roppongi Hills Arena (the most famous sumo wrestling venue). Thousands of fans dressed as their favorite characters, actors staged light saber battles and famous local girl band, Group Flower along with the Tokyo symphony orchestra closed out the event playing the Star Wars theme song.
- 2016, London, UK: The famous waxworks museum, Madame Tussauds displayed 12 different Star Wars sets and figures of 18 of the most well-known characters. The project employed an incredible 180 designers and took almost a year to build. Every single hair on each wax figure was inserted by hand. Chewbacca had over 10,000 hairs on his head alone!
- 2015, Ottawa, Canada: The bells inside the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in the nation’s capital played The Imperial March theme song from Star Wars.
- 2011, Toronto, Canada: The first ever organized Star Wars Day celebration in Canada took place in Toronto at a local movie theater. Events included a trivia game show and a costume contest with celebrity judges.
These are some of the more high-profile events that have occurred over the years, but there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Star Wars Day. Some fans simply send each other memes and GIFs through social media or binge watch as many of the movies they can on this day.
With COVID-19 lockdowns in place this year, most of us will be at home on Star Wars Day, so won’t be able to celebrate on a larger scale. But if you are a fan, this might be the perfect time to re-watch and rediscover some of your favorite movies.
Even if you’re not a fan yet, this is maybe your chance to find out what all the hype is about. The Star Wars movies have been dubbed into more than 50 languages, including Navajo. So even if English is not your first language you will still be able to enjoy the experience.
Written by Jon Kuykendall-Barrett, Sales Executive