May 4th has become commonly known as Star Wars Day. And who could be surprised? The words, “May the 4th” seem to beg the rest of the catchphrase be uttered. Regardless of whether you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek, or if are even a sci-fi aficionado at all, the influence of George Lucas’ Star Wars on pop culture is undeniable.
The History of Star Wars Day
Star Wars, an epic space opera written and directed by George Lucas, premiered in 1977 and became an almost instant cult classic. Even today, almost 40 years later, Star Wars remains one of the most financially successful films of all time. The franchise it began remains the most successful one of all time, earning over 2.5 billion dollars since the release of the first film. However, the money it’s earned over the years is hardly the most impressive aspect of Star Wars. As famous film critic Roger Ebert put it: “Like The Birth of a Nation and Citizen Kane, Star Wars was a technical watershed that influenced many of the movies that came after.”
Star Wars was a real game-changer, beginning a new era of special effect-packed motion pictures bursting with excitement, adventure and imagination that appealed enormously to younger audiences as well as older ones. Many of today’s most acclaimed film directors, such as Peter Jackson, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan and James Cameron, cite Star Wars as a great influence on their careers. Star Wars has also had enormous cultural impact on other areas besides filmmaking, including politics–the Reagan Administration’s Startegic Defense Program was mockingly nicknamed “Star Wars”. As recently as 2013, President Barack Obama used the phrase “Jedi miind meld” to describe what some people were expecting him to do on his opposition to make them accept his ideas.
“May the Fourth be with you” was first used by Margaret Thatcher’s political party to congratulate her on her election on May 4th, 1979, and the saying quickly caught on. However, the first celebration of May 4th took place much later, at the Toronto Underground Cinema in 2001. This first official Star Wars Day’s festivities included a costume contest and a movie marathon. Fans’ favorite parodies of the franchise were also enjoyed, as were some of the most popular mash-ups and remixes. Since then, Star Wars Day has gained popularity and is celebrated by Star Wars Fans worldwide.
How to Celebrate Star Wars Day
The way you celebrate Star Wars day will depend on how well you know this cultural phenomenon. If you are a longtime fan of the franchise, you might want to get a group of friends together and attend one of the many Star Wars events organized in different parts of the world. Such events range from costume contests to museum exhibits to tours of space centers. And if you’re not feeling up to going out, there’s no reason why a Star Wars Day party organized by you at home should be any less fun. Movie marathons with friends, Star Wars trivia games and even Star Wars themed snacks (Death Star piñata, anyone?) will guarantee this day is full of fun as well as being very educational. “Vadering” another person has also become an extremely popular thing to do on this day, and the photos you take of this are sure to bring a smile to your face for years to come. Because Star Wars itself is such an enormous topic, the ways of celebrating the day dedicated to it are virtually endless. So choose one, have fun, and May the 4th be with you!