Did you know that May 4th each year is “May the 4th be With You” day which was started on May 4, 1979, when the first known instance of “May the 4th Be With You” was used?
This is the latest of our blogs and is a day celebrated all over the world. Do you celebrate it?
May the 4th Be With You: A Cultural History
The inside story of the Star Wars galaxy’s fan holiday.
Like anything that emerges from the collective passion of a group of people, the Star Wars fan holiday on May the 4th each year has no single point of origin. It has no official commencement year, no formal dedication. It is a grassroots phenomenon that now transcends the English language pun that inspired it. Around the world, “May the 4th Be With You” is more ubiquitously known as “Star Wars Day.”
The earliest uses of the phrase “May the 4th Be With You” that we have evidence for date from 1978, one year after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope. By then, Star Wars was firmly established within American popular culture and became “like a handshake,” as Professor Leo Braudy would later comment in the documentary, Empire of Dreams. That summer of ’78, clever newspaper writers used the phrase as a gimmick to mark Independence Day celebrations on the Fourth of July. “May the Force be with you,” as heard in A New Hope, had been appearing on licensed (and unlicensed) buttons, posters, and various items for months, enough to convince those writers that the joke would be well-received by their readers.
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