Here at AiPT! we have a serious Star Wars obsession — like, super duper serious. We spent the entire month of December talking about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and with Solo: A Star Wars Story coming out May 25th, we decided to do it all over again. For the next month AiPT! will be flooded with Star Wars YouTube videos, podcasts, cosplay, comic reviews, novel reviews, and hell, maybe we’ll even dive back into the dreaded holiday special from the ’70s.
It’s May the fourth which means it’s time to celebrate Star Wars day. Or so your corporate overlords want you to think! This is the semi-official but somewhat official holiday of Star Wars due to the slick name and the fact that the original film premiered in May of 1977. “May the Force be with you” and May the fourth are so damn similar why the hell shouldn’t we connect the two? There are three big reasons why Star Wars day is a gimmick and should be changed.
Reason 1: The history of this day started with Margaret Thatcher. How un-American.
In 1979, two years after Star Wars first premiered, Margaret Thatcher’s party celebrated her election (Britain’s first woman prime minister) with a newspaper ad in the London Evening News that said “May the Fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations.” This is the first ever recorded usage of “May the Fourth be with you” which was obviously a play on “May the Force be with you.” This factoid is most notably attributed to Alan Arnold’s book Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of The Empire Strikes Back. A good saying certainly helps people remember something, that’s why we have jingles, but it’s quite clear the invention of this saying has nothing to do with honoring Star Wars directly. It was created by a group of British politicians who wanted to make a catchy and slightly silly headline to grab the attention of millions. Not to honor the day or celebrate the Force.
Reason 2: It wasn’t even celebrated until 2011 thanks to social media.
While clever, the saying languished in obscurity for decades with a reference here and there but never used to designate it as a holiday. Then in 2008 a Facebook group started using it for Luke Skywalker Day which brought the saying to the attention of many. Then in 2011, the first organized Star Wars Day took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It took three years (and 32 years) for the day to connect directly with Star Wars fans. George Lucas never observed the day as it was a fan creation. Then Disney bought Star Wars. The Walt Disney Company knew a day like this would help sales and boost fan interest and so since 2013 they have officially observed the holiday. Yahoo for more sales on a somewhat random day of the year!
Reason 3: Star Wars: A New Hope premiered May 25th. It’s close enough to the 4th and means something so why not move the day!
So May the 25th doesn’t have a fun connection to the Force with a catchy phrase, sure, but the original film premiered on this day so why not honor it. On top of all that, it’d actually connect to a historic moment in the franchise.
That isn’t to say fans can’t celebrate the day on May the 4th, because honestly if you love this series like I do you should be able to have a movie marathon, dress up like Yoda, and go full tilt with Star Wars festivities any time you want. Regardless of what day you celebrate Star Wars though you have to admit the origin of this special day is random, disconnected from the history of the series, and at the very least serves as a corporate holiday to sell more stuff.
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