Why is May 4th Star Wars Day? Fourth Be With You started as a pun, became a global celebration

LOS ANGELES — This week, “Star Wars” fans will celebrate the beloved franchise’s biggest day of the year in galaxies near and far.

May 4, or “May the 4th Be With You,” marks a celebration of all things “Star Wars.”

As most fans know, the fourth day of May became “Star Wars” day because of the “May the force be with you” turn of phrase used by the Jedi Masters in the movies.

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The classic catchphrase was originally reversed in 1978 for Other Greats on the 4th of July, according to Lucasfilm.

The following year, May 4 became the unofficial fandom holiday after Margaret Thatcher won the election to become Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

To celebrate her victory, her party took out a half-page advertisement in the 4 May 1979 issue of the London Evening News which read: “May the fourth be with you, Maggie. Congratulations!”

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Since “May the 4th Be With You” doesn’t pack the same spiritual punch when translated into other languages, “Star Wars Day” was adopted to establish an overarching meaning for the annual global celebration.

It was unofficially observed for decades until 2019, when California lawmakers voted to declare May 4 “Star Wars Day” in recognition of the opening of Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge.

May is a notable month for the popular franchise: the original “Star Wars” premiered on May 25, 1977, and its creator, George Lucas, celebrates his birthday on May 14.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of Lucasfilm and this station.

ABC News contributed to this report.

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