May the Fourth Be With You is the celebration of the Star Wars universe and fandom. Star Wars Day, more commonly called May the 4th, started as an unofficial holiday but has been celebrated by Lucasfilm and the Disney Parks in recent years. It takes place every year on May 4.
What Is May the 4th?
May the Fourth be with you is a pun on the Jedi phrase, “may the Force be with you.” All puns aside, it is the more commonly used name for Star Wars Day, which takes place annually on May 4. Both May the Fourth and May the 4th are acceptable ways of writing the phrase.
Jedi use the phrase “may the Force be with you” to wish someone courage or good luck. It first appears in A New Hope and is used consistently throughout the Star Wars series. One of the most quoted lines in history, fans and non-fans alike use it to wish others good luck.
While the Jedi response to may the Force be with you is to repeat the phrase or go in peace, many fans have taken to replying, “and also with you.” This is a play on the religious and cultural phrase, “peace be with you”.
However, this response is now canon. In The High Republic: The Rising Storm, Jedi Padawan Bell Zettifar says “may the Force be with you” to a group of civilians. One of the civilians responds with “and also with you” before asking if that is the right response. Zettifar replies that it’s fine.
When Is Star Wars Day?
Star Wars Day is celebrated by fans worldwide on May 4 every year. Originally an unofficial fan event, Lucasfilm started promoting May the 4th in 2011. Under Disney’s ownership, Lucasfilm has done more to celebrate Star Wars Day.
In 2020, they released the final season of The Clone Wars, The Rise of Skywalker, and the Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian on Disney+ on Star Wars Day.
In 2021, they released the Disney+ animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch. May the 4th, 2022, saw the release of the second official trailer for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Disney Gallery: The Book of Boba Fett.
During the early days of the fandom, Star Wars Day was unofficially celebrated on May 25th, the day A New Hope was released.
What Is the Origin of May the Fourth Be With You?
It seems the first known reference to the phrase May the 4th be with you relates to Margaret Thatcher’s election as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
According to the story, her political party placed an ad in a London-based newspaper on May 3, 1979, which read, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”
However, whether this is an intentional reference to Star Wars or just an unlikely coincidence is unclear.
The phrase “May the Fourth be with you” appears in a 1988 episode of the British animated series Count Duckula. Given that the episode’s name is “The Vampire Strikes Back”, the connection to Star Wars seems undeniable.
Politician Harry Cohen mentioned the phrase in a defense debate during a session of the UK Parliament in 1994. Cohen acknowledged the Star Wars pun in reference to Ronald Reagan’s proposed space defense system of the same name.
Astrophysicist Jeanne Cavelos included the phrase in her 1999 book The Science of Star Wars. While Cavelos is often credited with coining the phrase, it likely predates her. However, she is responsible for popularizing May the 4th Be With You within the Star Wars fandom.
What is Revenge of the Fifth?
Since May the 4th Be With You is a Jedi reference, fans of the Galactic Empire, First Order, and Sith sometimes celebrate a second Star Wars holiday on May the 5th. Revenge of the 5th is a pun on Revenge of the Sith, with the 5th looking similar to Sith.
Also called Revenge of the Sith Day, fans watch Revenge of the Sith, share dark side messages and memes, or cosplay as Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, or Kylo Ren. While most dark siders celebrate on the 5th, some fans prefer May the Sixth because it appears similar to Sith.
How Do You Celebrate May the 4th?
There is no official way to celebrate May the 4th Be With You. Similar to Life Day, fans often celebrate by watching Star Wars, hanging out with friends, and enjoying themed meals and beverages.
The earliest May the Fourth Star Wars Day celebrations started on the internet in the late 1990s, a trend that remains to this day. Luke Skywalker Day events appeared on Facebook in 2008. Virtual May the Fourth events started in the early 2010s. Today, many fans share messages on social media using the hashtag #MayTheFourthBeWithYou.
The Toronto Underground Cinema organized the first known in-person Star Wars Day celebration on Wednesday, May 4, 2011. The event included a trivia game show about the Original Trilogy, a costume contest with celebrity judges, and showed a number of tribute films, parodies, and mashups inside the theater. They held a second annual event on Friday, May 4, 2012, before permanently closing on Sunday, September 16th the same year.
For a number of years, Mark Hamill posted his May the Calendar which highlighted Star Wars-themed days for the entire month. In his post on May 31, 2020, Hamill said, “May the 31st mercifully be the final entry in what is more than like the last every “May the Calendar”. He did not post a May the Calendar in 2021 or 2022.
Can You Celebrate Star Wars Day in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?
Although there are no official May the Fourth events at Galaxy’s Edge, many fans make a pilgrimage to Disneyland and Walt Disney World on the day.
Our Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Discord group traditionally hosts a lightsaber meetup at Walt Disney World on May the Fourth. Even with the pandemic restrictions in 2021, about 400 people attended the event. More than 750 fans and park guests attended our 2022 event. Although we do not have specifics on future events, we anticipate continuing this tradition in 2023.
Disneyland hosted the Disneyland After Dark: Star Wars Nite event on May the Forth in 2022. Part of the event included a gigantic saber meetup with an appearance by Rey. The event required a separate park admission ticket. Disneyland Star Wars Nites occurred on May 3, 4, and 27 in 2022. Although they haven’t made an official announcement, similar events are expected in 2023.
Aside from saber meets, many fans gather in Galaxy’s Edge to enjoy the atmosphere and interact with other fans. They also celebrate with blue and green milk, ronto wraps, and a visit to Oga’s Cantina.
Non-May the Fourth Star Wars Day Celebrations
There are a number of other Star Wars Day events and celebrations that are not related to May the 4th.
Star Wars Day on the Disney Cruise Line
First introduced in 2015, the Disney Cruise line holds Star Wars Day events on select cruises. While they do not take place on May the 4th, these cruises include themed parties, meet-and-greets with iconic characters, unique food and beverage offerings, Star Wars Day merchandise, and special showings of Star Wars movies and shows.
Star Wars-Themed Events for Sports Teams and Leagues
Many sports organizations, including Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, have held Star Wars Day events over the last decade. Events typically include your favorite characters, special merchandise, Star Wars music, and other thematic elements. However, the events are usually not held on May 4.
Notably, the Pittsburgh Penguins held a Star Wars Night event on December 10, 2019. The Pens are Dave Filoni’s favorite hockey team and he is often seen wearing jerseys and branded clothing in interviews and documentaries.
These Star Wars theme nights might be loosely based on events held by the MISL soccer team the Cleveland Force. The team regularly used Star Wars music and thematic elements during games. Darth Vader and other characters made frequent appearances and they sold lightsaber-like telescoping light sticks.
Free Comic Book Day
While not directly related to May the Fourth, the inaugural Free Comic Book Day was held Saturday, May 4, 2002. One of the free comics that year was Star Wars Tales: A Jedi’s Weapon, a Dark Horse Comics one-shot. Free Star Wars comics were also offered in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2019, and 2021.
Free Comic Book Day is held annually on the first Saturday in May, which occasionally falls on May 4th. It took place on Star Wars Day in 2013 and 2019. The days will line up again in 2024 and 2030.
Geek Pride Day
Although not Star Wars-specific, Geek Pride Day is officially celebrated on May 25th. Celebrated as early as 1998 and held consistently since 2006, the day honors all geek properties including Star Wars.
Rooks is an SEO strategist, writer, and content editor that occasionally masquerades as a designer, photographer, and cook.
A lifelong Star Wars geek, his earliest memories are playing with Kenner action figures while watching the Original Trilogy on VHS. Aside from keeping up with the latest Star Wars movies, shows, books, and comics, he enjoys living out his own Star Wars story at Galaxy’s Edge East.
Aside from Star Wars, his fandoms include the MCU, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica, and the Lord of the Rings. Other hobbies include traveling, craft brewing, and beat-matching.
Rooks is passionate about cooking and loves discussing and occasionally writing about food, beer, and cocktails. You can usually find him hamming out words at a local coffee shop or brewery, eating around Orlando with his wife, and doing anything to avoid folding the laundry.