What Does "May The Fourth Be With You" Mean? 4 Things You Didn't Know About Star Wars Day
Even if you're not a huge Star Wars fan, chances are you've been on the Internet today, so you know that this seemingly insignificant, humdrum Monday is in fact May the Fourth, a.k.a. Star Wars Day, a.k.a. the nerdiest holiday of the springtime calendar (I say that from a place of love — honest). It's a day where we fully embrace tired galaxy puns we've been throwing at each other for years now, and ditch the standard "hey, how was your weekend?" greeting in favor of grander proclamations of "May the Fourth be with you!!" But, uh, guys? What does "May the Fourth be with you" mean, even? Sure, it's an obvious play on one of the most famous movie lines of all time, but how did this geek-tastic occasion originate? How are we supposed to celebrate? Why are we supposed to celebrate? Because suddenly becoming culturally irrelevant on the Internet is my single greatest fear in this world, I decided to brush up on the origins of this lauded and, depending on how many cosplayers you know, sacred day.
First, full disclosure: I've only ever seen about 30 minutes of the original 1977 film... and that's about it. I appreciate Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewie, and the rest of the gang for the cultural impact they've had over the last 30-something years, and I have mad respect for any franchise that can boast that kind of staying power in a world with an ever-shrinking attention span. But beyond that, I just love holidays. Any day there's a party, I'm there. Excited for an epic May the Fourth celebration? That's great! Here are four things to know first.
1. We have Margaret Thatcher to thank for this "holiday"
According to the unofficial holiday's very official website, the phrase "May the Fourth be with you" first entered our collective conscience on May 4, 1979, the day Margaret Thatcher took office as Britain's first female prime minister. To celebrate, Thatcher's party took out a half-page ad in the London Evening News that read “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations." And you thought people in politics have no sense of humor...
2. The month of May actually holds a lot of significance to Star Wars fans
All six of the live action films have debuted in May, with the first movie hitting theaters on May 25, 1977. George Lucas, the franchise's mega-genius creator, also celebrates his birthday on May 14. So if ever there was a time to let your Star Wars fandom fly free... that time would be the month of May.
3. The first "official" organized May the Fourth celebration took place in Toronto
In 2011, fans gathered in Toronto for a day of festivities put on by the Toronto Underground Cinema. The day included trivia and costume contests — and quickly sparked similar celebrations around the world. Today, you can find viewing parties, people in costume, and other creative takes on the popular theme in almost every city.
4. It's a holiday for foodies, too
Even if you've never sat down to watch a Star Wars movie in full (ahem), you can still reap all the benefits of this day with a few amazing treats. From Darth Vader cookies to Princess Leia cupcakes, almost every character of the popular "space opera" has found a delicious baked-good counterpart. Creativity in the kitchen? That's always something worth celebrating.