Expect to hear a lot of Star Wars quotes today – a lot of quotes. Today is a day to celebrate, it is a holiday, after all. It is a day when Star Wars devotees can let their geek flag fly with pride and revel in all things Star Wars. Today is May the Fourth (be with you).
The origin of May the Fourth is tricky. Some reports have it originating in 1994, to the unlikely source of the UK Parliament. Not typically known for its side-splitting humor or pop culture friendly theme days, the joke came from the right honorable MP from Leyton, Harry Cohen, during a hilarious debate on the use of force in Bosnia and the UN’s role. Leyton casually mentioned, no doubt through a stiff upper lip, that one of his researchers coined the phrase.
“May the fourth is an appropriate date for a defence debate. My researcher, who is a bit of a wit, said that it should be called national star wars day. He was talking about the film ‘Star Wars’ rather than President Reagan’s defense fantasy, and he added, ‘May the fourth be with you.’” Leyton said, “That is a very bad joke ; he deserves the sack for making it, but he is a good researcher.”
That joke, which may have cost a researcher his job, was then reprinted in the UK Parliament’s transcript, where it was found and reprinted. Soon the Fourth of May was May the Fourth.
In 2007 the day actually gained a bit a credibility when the Los Angeles City Council, who apparently had nothing better to do with their time, declared May 25, 2007 as Star Wars Day to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the movie. Once the floodgates were open on an official Star Wars day that had governmental support, Star Wars fans pounced like an Ewok on a Storm Trooper, and petitions quickly began to change the day of celebration to the 4th and have it celebrated yearly. The Los Angeles City Council has yet to reply.
In January of 2008, the May the Fourth date further dipped from the eccentric to the bewildering, when two fans in the UK officially petitioned the British government, once an empire that the sun never set on, to form a Church of the Jedi. In a 2001 census of England and Wales, over 390,000 people had listed their faith as “Jedi”, so it might not be as crazy as it sounds. Or it might be exactly as crazy as it sounds, just on a bigger scale. Barney and Daniel Jones have opened a church that provides sermons on the force, light saber training, and meditation techniques in England. More chapters have since opened across the country.
The Church of Jediism has yet to gain official recognition, but it is still alive and accepting donations.
Fans in Australia also abused the census takers when 70,509 people declared their faith as Jedi.
So fans and devotees of the series rejoice, today is your day. Ladies grab those golden bikinis. Guys, feel free to brag about how fast you can make the Kessel Run. Whatever the origin Star Wars fans, today is your day.