Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The history of 'May the Fourth be with you' for Star Wars Day

Happy Star Wars Day and May the Fourth be with you! For this year's celebration, I'm expanding on my aside that "May the Fourth crossed the Atlantic to become Star Wars Day" in Celebrate First Contact Day on 4/5, a Star Trek Day that mirrors Star Wars Day on 5/4. Watch Star Wars Day celebrated as unofficial holiday | Today in History from WUSA9.

Here's a little history behind the punny day.

National Day Calendar has more on the trans-Atlantic history of the holiday.

May the Fourth be with you each year on National Star Wars Day. Or is it, “May the force be with you?” It all depends on whether you like using puns or not.

Thousands of Star Wars enthusiasts celebrate this day each year with parties and celebrations around the nation. If you a fan, then National Star Wars Day allows you to dress like your favorite character, say your favorite lines from the series and catch a movie or read a book.

Star Wars fans didn’t first introduce the often quoted phrase on May 4th. It was 1979, and Britain elected the first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. On May 4th, the day she took office, the Conservative Party placed an advertisement in The London Evening News, which read, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

Star Wars creator, George Lucas, was asked during a 2005 interview on a German news TV channel to say the famous sentence “May the Force Be with You.” Upon doing so, the interpreter interpreted the sentence into German as Am4 Mai sind wir bei Ihnen (On May 4 we are with you). TV Total captured this and aired it on May 18, 2005.
National Star Wars Day was first organized in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Toronto Underground Cinema in 2011. Produced by Sean Ward and Alice Quinn, festivities included an Original Trilogy Trivia Game Show, a costume contest, and the web’s best tribute films, mash-ups, parodies, and remixes on the big screen. May 4th was chosen because of the play on words.
1999 may be the first mention of an American using the phrase in the day's Wikipedia entry, but it didn't stick on this side of the pond until 2011 when the Canadians seized upon it. After Disney bought Lucasfilm in October 2012, it adopted the day beginning in 2013. That is the subtext of May the 4th be with you from ABC News, a division of Disney.

ABC News’ Will Ganss caught up with ‘Star Wars’ fans to see how they’re celebrating the big day!
As I wrote about CNN defending Big Bird after Ted Cruz called one of the character's tweets "Propaganda," "my readers should keep that relationship in mind when watching the clip above. It's not just news value that's driving it."

That's it for Star Wars today. I will return to the theme on the Revenge of the Sixth on Flashback Friday after celebrating Cinco De Mayo. Stay tuned.

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