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During the 20th century, space travel was considered to be the final frontier for the billions of humans living on earth. Space exploration included sending humans into space, putting men on the moon, and eventually creating space shuttles and space stations. 

One of the most significant accomplishments of the “space race” was when an astronaut became the first human to enter into space. And that’s what the celebration of Yuri’s Night is all about!

History of Yuri’s Night

Celebrating the accomplishments of human space travel, Yuri’s Night was named for the first person who ever entered into space, Yuri Gagarin. Gagarin was a Russian cosmonaut who manned the Vostok 1 spaceship on April 12, 1961. This important event was a vital part of the competition of space travel of that era, particularly between the US and the USSR, with the US eventually landing the first man on the moon in 1969.

Yuri’s Night got its start in 2000 when the idea was thought of by a few supporters of the concept of space exploration. The day is sometimes also referred to as the “World Space Party” and acts as a way to raise awareness for and increase public interest in space exploration.

The first celebration of Yuri’s night happened in 2001, on the 40th anniversary of the launch of Vostok 1, which was the Soviet space program launched on April 12, 1961. By 2011, the day also began going by an additional name: International Day of Human Space Flight. 

How to Celebrate Yuri’s Night

Getting on board with Yuri’s Night can bring a wide variety of opportunities for enjoying and celebrating the day. Have fun with some of these ideas:

Host a Yuri’s Night Space Party

Yuri’s Night would be a perfect day to invite some lovers of space to a gathering of friends and family members. Encourage guests to dress up as astronauts or space creatures, or ask them to wear NASA garb to go along with the space theme. Serve snacks and desserts that go along with the space theme, such as alien cookies or cupcakes decorated like planets and stars. Don’t forget to play space-themed music or have a showing of a space-themed movie for entertainment!

Watch Some Space Films for Yuri’s Night

Going along with the theme space, Yuri’s Night is a great time to rewatch some classic space films – or perhaps watch them for the first time. Try out some of these movie titles that revolved around the theme of space exploration:

  • Apollo 13 (1995). Based on a true story, Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon star in this film centered around an almost-deadly space mission.
  • The Martian (2015). This film starring Matt Damon takes space exploration to another level when it hypothesizes about travel to Mars.
  • First Man (2018). This movie tells the story of Neil Armstrong and NASA in the 1960s space program for the historic Apollo 11 mission.
  • October Sky (1999). Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the cast of this film about rocket science and the Sputnik I part of the space program.

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