Lock up your Ewoks and get your light sabers in the air, because May 4 is Star Wars Day! That’s right, the most pun-tastic day of the year is set aside to celebrate George Lucas’ most famous space opera series, and we’re here to tell you the very best ways to celebrate. The reference to May 4 was used as a pun long before Star Wars Day was established. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher took office as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Her political party placed an ad in The London Evening News, which read “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”
The first organized celebration of Star Wars Day took place in Toronto, Canada, at the Toronto Underground Cinema in 2011. The event included an Original Trilogy Trivia Game Show, a costume contest, and a showing of fan-made tribute films, mash-ups, parodies, and remixes. In late 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise along with it, and has officially observed the holiday at Disneyland and Walt Disney World ever since. Every year, nerds and their friends invent new ways to celebrate the Star Wars films. In 2015, astronauts on the International Space Station commemorated the holiday by watching Star Wars among the stars themselves. With two-thirds of the new trilogy to be released in the coming years, it’s a sure bet that there is lots more Star Wars fun waiting in the future.
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Star Wars Day Activities
Seek out your fellow Star Wars fans
Some big cities hold public celebrations for May the Fourth. Most famously, Disneyland and Walt Disney World hold park-wide celebrations, with exclusive merchandise and all sorts of events for children and adults alike. If you’ve got the time and the means, a vacation to Star Wars Central might be just the ticket.
Host a viewing party
You can also enjoy Star Wars from the comfort of your own home. Invite your near and dear over to your place for a movie marathon. (Whether you take them through the behind-the-scenes footage or not is up to you). You can hang themed decorations and prepare nerd-tastic snacks for the occasion. (Check out StarWars.com for more ideas—their Wookie Pies are particularly tasty).
Deck yourself out
Costumes aren’t just for Halloween. Head out on the town in your finest Rebel attire, or a themed T-shirt if that’s more your comfort zone. Find a makeup tutorial and figure out how to make yourself up like Yoda or Princess Leia (whichever floats your boat). Decorate your house with nerdy merch. If you’ve been thinking about a Star Wars -themed tattoo or an elaborate Darth Vader costume, what better day to get it than May the Fourth?
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Why We Love Star Wars Day
The hi-tech gadgets
Star Wars, and other sci-fi series, has had a huge impact on our modern technology. George Lucas had the creativity to imagine light-sabers and holograms and various kinds of spaceship, and as successive generations of tech-savvy sci-fi fans grow up and get funding, we all get closer and closer to the day when those inventions become reality.
It’s a cultural touchstone
Whether Star Wars is the greatest work of fiction humans have ever produced is up for debate. However, it has become so engrained in our society that even people who have never seen the movies know what a Death Star is (and how to blow one up). No matter our cultural differences, Star Wars is something that we can all point to and claim as our own.
It’s all about adventure
Reality, even at its very best, can be dull and unsatisfying. By celebrating the fictions we create, we can take a deeper pleasure in our lives. Not only that, but by imagining ourselves as the heroes of our own lives, it puts us in a better position to effect positive changes on the world.