May 4 is Star Wars Day, a fan observance celebrating George Lucas’ epic space opera and its impact on popular culture. Observers typically greet friends by saying, “May the fourth be with you,” a pun associated with the franchise’s signature phrase, “May the Force be with you.”
Star Wars tells the classic story of a hero’s fall from grace and redemption through his progeny. It follows the plight of Anakin Skywalker, an heroic young Jedi who is gradually lured into the service of an evil Sith Lord intent on taking over the Galactic Republic.
Every evil act Anakin commits makes it harder for him to return to the light. With his spirit eventually broken, Anakin pledges himself as the Sith Lord’s apprentice, Darth Vader, and is dispatched to commit unforgivable acts of tyrrany, one of which leaves him disfigured and permanently confined to a mechanical suit of armor just to stay alive.
Years later, Vader discovers he has a son, Luke Skywalker, who has become the symbol of hope in the Rebel Alliance’s struggle against the Galactic Empire. The fallen Jedi turned Sith Lord then faces a choice: destroy his son – the symbol of hope for everything Vader has forsaken – or convince him to embrace the dark side, condemning him to suffer the same fate.
With elements of myth, philosophy, religion, and political history, George Lucas’ film saga has become deeply embedded in popular culture. References to the film are casually made with the assumption that others will understand the reference. Phrases like “evil empire” and “May the Force be with you” have become part of the popular lexicon. And sounds, visuals, and even the music from the films have become part of the tapestry of American society.
Many celebrate Star Wars Day by performing Star Wars-themed activities; some serious and some less so — such as holding movie marathons, making Star Wars-themed pastries or wearing Star Wars-themed apparel. The most common observance is to greet others by saying, “May the fourth be with you.”
May 4 is not the only date for honoring the Star Wars saga. The Los Angeles City Council declared May 25, 2007, as Star Wars Day, in honor of the 1977 release date of the original film. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also proclaimed October 13, 2005, as Star Wars Day in the City of New York. But conventional wisdom among fans is that May 4 is the one true Star Wars Day.
Find out more at http://maythe4th.starwars.com.
- Alexandra Petri, “May the Fourth be with you on Star Wars Day 2013!” Washington Post, May 4, 2013, accessed September 6, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2013/05/04/may-the-fourth-be-with-you-on-star-wars-day-2013.
- Alysia Gray Painter, “May the Fourth Be With You,” The Scene, NBC, KNBC, Los Angeles, May 4, 2009, accessed September 6, 2013, http://www.nbclosangeles.com/the-scene/archive/Forced-or-Not-Theres-a-Star-Wars-Day.html.
- Quentin Hardy, “The Force Is Strong In This One,” Forbes, April 30, 2009, accessed September 6, 2013, http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/30/star-wars-sansweet-technology-personal-tech-star-wars.html.
- Whitney Matheson, “Happy Star Wars Day!” USA Today, May 4, 2010, accessed September 6, 2013, http://content.usatoday.com/communities/popcandy/post/2010/05/happy-star-wars-day/1#.UioYftKG18E.
- Council File Number: 07-1368, May 1, 2007, City of Los Angeles – Council File Number:07-1368.