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May the 4th Be With You – How May Fourth Became Star Wars Day and How to Celebrate

 

Star Wars Universe
Star Wars Universe

Each year on May 4th, sci-fi fans wield their lightsabers, don their Jedi garb, and pay tribute to one of the greatest film franchises of all times.  Star Wars Day (May 4th each year) was created and adopted by fans of the popular film series.  The phenomenon has grown so large that many retailers and companies offer specials or promotions to commemorate the day.  Our culture has embraced this self-declared holiday and turned it into one of praise and adulation for George Lucas, the Star Wars trilogies, the Jedis and science fiction in general.  But where did such a catchy phrase originate?  Here’s what we have found out…

The earliest record of the phrase, “May the Fourth Be With You” comes circa 1979.  Author Alan Arnold was documenting Lucasfilm‘s production of the Empire Strikes Back.  Here is a May 4th, 1979 excerpt from his writings:

Friday, May 4

“Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain’s first woman prime minister. To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory, was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.”

Ending of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Ending of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

So, what could you do on Star Wars Day to celebrate?  I’m planning on watching all 6 films in a row like I do every year.  Here are some other great ideas courtesy of StarWars.com

  • Have a Star Wars movie marathon with friends and family! But do you start with the prequels or the original trilogy? Do you mix in some episodes of The Clone Wars? Better decide before your guests arrive, or you may spend the day in a heated debate.
  • Dressing up for special occasions is important, and May the 4th is no different. Wearing anything from your favorite Star Wars shirt to full-on Stormtrooper gear is completely acceptable. (It’s okay to dress up your pet, too. Bounty hunter bulldogs are especially encouraged.)
  • Food is an essential part of any holiday. Star Wars Cake or Bar2D2s, anyone? Find a variety of recipes on StarWars.com!
  • Toast the saga with the ultimate Star Wars-themed beverage: blue milk, just like Aunt Beru used to make! (Fortunately, unlike Aunt Beru, you don’t own the droids the Empire is looking for.)
  • Feel the Force with Star Wars crafts: turn old socks and rocks into awesomeStar Wars keepsakes! Learn how to make a Chewbacca Bookmark, Hoth Snow Globe, and more at StarWars.com!
  • Have you Vadered anyone yet? Now’s the time to give it a try…and be sure to tweet your photo to @starwars using the hashtag #Vadering!
  • You know that Rebel Alliance symbol tattoo you’ve been thinking about getting? Today’s the day.
  • Sometimes people use holidays to travel to new places. Why not go to Disneyland or Disney World and ride Star Tours? There are over 50 mission possibilities…so don’t plan on eating lunch beforehand.
  • As Yoda said, “Pass on what you have learned.” Introduce a younger sibling, family member, or friend to Star Wars!
  • Do you have any Star Wars toys that you don’t need any more? Donate them and make May the 4th really memorable for children in need.

In honor of this somewhat official holiday, many retailers have great one-day only sales.  Here are some of the top ones, courtesy of Tech Times:

1. Amazon

There are so many discounts on Star Wars merchandise, from Hasbro toys to books to video games. Check them all out here.

2. ANOVOS Productions

If you don’t want to take a chance on winning that ANOVOS Productions Darth Vader costume from GameStop, you can always just buy one for 15 percent off on May 4 only with the code MAYTHE4TH.

3. Cufflinks, Inc.

You really can wear your Star Wars pride everywhere, can’t you? Cufflinks, Inc. is offering a 40 percent discount on all Star Wars cufflinks and accessories this Star Wars Day.

4. Disney Store

The Disney Store is offering 30 percent off of select Star Wars items for Star Wars Day, which is no surprise, considering the company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012. You can also score a Star Wars pin or watch gift with your purchase. Now aren’t you glad this acquisition happened?

5. FanWraps, Inc.

Your car may not be able to go into hyperdrive IRL, but at least you can make it look like it with Star Wars vehicle FanWraps that are 30 percent off with the code Maythe4th, good from May 4 through May 15. You’ll also get a free Boba Fett mini wrap with your purchase.

6. Fathead

Do you want to pretend you’re best buds with Luke Skywalker or feel like you live on the Death Star? Well, Fathead is offering 35 percent off all of its Star Wars products through May 5, including character stand outs and wall decals. You can also score a 20 percent discount on anything else on the site, just in case something not Star Wars-related happens to catch your eye.

7. GameStop PowerUp Rewards

Now through May 18, GameStop customers can use their PowerUp Rewards points to enter for a chance to win a Darth Vader costume from ANOVOS Productions. If the force is not with you to win that grand prize, a Sony PS4, Force FX Lightsaber and Star Wars Battlefront games are also up for grabs.

8. Good Old Games

There are plenty more Star Wars game deals to be had over at Good Old Games. Most notably, you can score a ton of Star Wars games in two different bundles, or buy each game individually also at a discount. Head over to Good Old Games to see everything that’s on sale.

9. Hallmark

Say “May the fourth be with you” to all of your friends and family this May 4 by sending them a free Star Wars Day e-card from Hallmark. You can also receive 20 percent off personalized Star Wars cards by using the code MAY4 at checkout.

10. Hanna Andersson

Let your kids have sweet Star Wars dreams with 20 percent off Star Wars sleepwear from Hanna Andersson.

11. Her Universe

Hey, the ladies love Star Wars too, you know. You can show your heart on your sleeve by getting some Star Wars designs on sale at Her Universe as well as two free Star Wars stickers with every order of $25 or more.

12. Hot Topic

On May 4 and May 5, you can save 25 percent on Star Wars merch at Hot Topic, which includes everything from underwear to jewelry to Pop! figures.

13. Kohl’s

Kohl’s has lots of Star Wars deals for you. You can get 20 percent off Hasbro Star Wars toys now. Star Wars graphic tees for young men are also now on sale for $12.99 each or two for $20. Star Wars tees for boys are on sale for $8.99 each. All Star Wars jerseys are also on sale for $14.99 each. All of these discounts are running now through May 10, so get ’em while they’re hot.

14. Mimoco

Mimoco is giving you 20 percent off on all tech accessories, and yes, there are Star Wars-themed items.

15. MyCoolCarStuff.com

All Star Wars merch is half price on May 4 with the code PCMAY415.

16. My M&M’s

Yes, even M&Ms have gotten in on the Star Wars Day revelry. You can get 15 percent off of Star Wars merch from the My M&M’s store with the discount code STARWARS2015 at checkout. Now that’s a sweet deal.

17. Party City

Throw the perfect Star Wars Day celebration by saving 50 percent on Star Wars patterned tableware and getting discounts on Star Wars party kits at Party City.

18. PlayStation

If PlayStation is more of your scene, there are plenty of Star Wars games offered at a discount for you to pick up in honor of Star Wars Day this year. These include four Star Wars games released on PSN for PS3 for the very first time: Star Wars Starfighter, Star Wars Bounty Hunter, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Racer Revenge. You can get all four of these games for 25 percent off in the PlayStation Store. You can also get many other Star Wars games for cheap from the PlayStation Store, some of which are up to 77 percent off. Here’s the complete collection of Star Wars games that you’ll find on sale in the PlayStation Store.

19. Santa Cruz Skateboards

If you order anything with a Star Wars item from Santa Cruz Skateboards’ NHS Fun Factory, you’ll get a free print.

20. Sideshow

If you’ve ever wanted a creepily lifelike, mini version of your fave Star Wars character, Sideshow is your hook-up. The online collectibles boutique is giving you $25 to use on select Star Wars merchandise, good until May 31 or until supplies last. Sideshow also has a contest with ThinkGeek where you cen enter to win a life-size Yoda statue or a Star Wars prize pack if you’re the runner-up.

21. SMS Audio

If you pre-order the Star Wars Second Edition headphones by May 3, you’ll get a free limited-edition T-shirt. This will probably be the closest you’ll ever come to looking like Chewbacca anyway.

22. Spencer’s

You can get Star Wars novelty items galore all the time at Spencer’s. However, from now until May 5, you can get Star Wars stuff for 25 percent off.

23. Star Wars Insider Magazine

Not only do you get a free T-shirt when you subscribe to Star Wars Insider magazine, but you also get to choose between a light side tee with Luke Skywalker or a dark side tee with Darth Vader. Choose wisely.

24. Steam

Steam has a massive sale running now until May 6, offering several Star Wars video games for up to 77 percent off. A collection of Star Wars games and a bundle of X-Wing Series titles are up for grabs for 77 percent and 10 percent off their original price, respectively. You can also purchase the games included in these collections separately for a fraction of their original prices. Check out the full list of titles available in this promotion here.

25. WeLoveFine

Get your Star Wars apparel on with 20 percent off all Star Wars merchandise on May 4 at WeLoveFine. I mean, how could you not?

26. Xbox

You didn’t think Star Wars would leave out all of its Xbox titles, now did you? There are several games on sale, including Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, both of which can be purchased for $6.99. Check out all of the Star Wars Xbox deals here.

27. Zak! Designs

If you’ve ever dreamed of eating off of Darth Vader’s face, this deal is for you. Zak! Designs has a 25 percent discount on all Star Wars and Star Wars Rebels items in stock now.

28. Zulily

Get some Star Wars clothing and housewares up to 55 percent off in Zulily’s special Star Wars event running exclusively for members from May 4 to May 7.

 

Take a look at this clever ad encouraging people to say “No” to May the 4th:

 

With the soon-to-be-released Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (the second trailer is below), Star Wars fans should have plenty to celebrate and share today. And don’t forget… tomorrow is Revenge of the Fifth.  Time for the Sith to get their props!  #StarWarsDay #MaytheFourthBeWithYou

Jason Bennett
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's senior editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. He is a big lover of coffee, cats, cooking and comics (plus all things Green Lantern). He is a strong supporter of indie comics, creators, and publishers and Chris Hardwick is his spirit animal (we don't know how to respond to that). Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett
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