What does May the 4th be with you mean? Star Wars Day explained

Today is May the 4th – which means it’s Star Wars Day! However, those of you who are not familiar with the way of the Jedi may not know why, on this very day, sci-fi fans across the galaxy celebrate George Lucas’ work.

First thing’s first: say “May the 4th” out loud. Go on, no one’s judging you. Well, maybe that guy sat next to you on the bus right now… 

Saying “May the 4th” out loud sounds remarkably similar to “May the Force”, which happens to be part of one of the most iconic and repeated lines in Star Wars history: “May the Force be with you.”

The phrase originated in Star Wars: A New Hope, with many fans attributing it to the Jedi Master known as Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, the first person to actually say “may the Force be with you” was General Dodonna, one of the Rebel leaders who says the phrase when dismissing his troops. The phrase essentially means that the person saying it hopes the Force – a mystical energy field that’s everywhere – helps guide that person to greatness.

When did May the 4th become Star Wars Day?

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

There’s no exact year when May the 4th became Star Wars Day, though Disney started officially celebrating the “holiday” at Disneyland since 2013. Before Disney owned Star Wars, there was an unofficial celebration in Toronto back in 2008, where event goers played trivia games and more.

The first recorded use of “May the 4th” being spun into pun on “May the Force” was back in 1979, and doesn’t exactly have a cool origins. On May 3 that year, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister of England, and her party, the Conservatives, took out an advertisement in the London Evening News (a paper that was later absorbed by the Evening Standard) that read: “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

Star Wars Day memes

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

As has become tradition, Star Wars Day memes are a thing.

Fans from across the world often post their Star Wars celebrations online, with many poking fun at the beloved franchise. Whether that’s Yoda not being able to wake up (opens in new tab), or Storm Troopers being forced to work on a holiday (opens in new tab), the internet is rife with Star Wars memes.

Star Wars Day announcements

return jedi

(Image credit: LucasFilm/Disney)

As Star Wars Day has become bigger and bigger online, so have the official announcements from Disney, the owners of Lucasfilm, the studio behind all Star Wars content. This year, expect to see a brand new trailer for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series along with some potential news on Star Wars Jadi: Fallen Order 2. Keep your eye on our homepages for the latest.

For more Star Wars goodness, be sure to read our guides to all the new Star Wars movies and shows heading your way soon.

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