Since a long time ago, though not in a galaxy far, far, away, the fourth of May has held a special place in the hearts of Star Wars fans.
Like most good things, it all started with a pun: “May the Fourth be with you” – a play on the popular Star Wars catchphrase, “May the Force be with you”.
But while Star Wars Day may have started out as a play on words, in the decades since the franchise began in 1977, it has become an annual holiday celebrated by fans around the world.
What is Star Wars Day?
While Star Wars Day is an informal holiday, for Star Wars fans across the globe it is a chance to come together and celebrate their favourite franchise.
In pre-pandemic times, that has often meant gathering at cinemas to see their favourite Star Wars films on the big screen or getting together at conventions where fans can dress up as their most beloved characters.
Like last year, however, many Star Wars fans around the world will have to celebrate a bit differently, with coronavirus lockdowns and social distancing measures still in effect across much of the world.
How to celebrate this year
For those who won’t be able to attend an in-person event this year, there are still many ways to celebrate Star Wars Day and “feel the Force”.
To mark the occasion, LucasFilm and The Walt Disney Company will be letting Star Wars fan artists take over the Disney+ landing page.
The two companies have commissioned fan artists from around the world to create Star Wars-related pieces that will be featured on the site, including a mural depicting the heroes and villains of the saga by poster illustrator and cover artist Zi Xu.
Fans can check out the artwork here.
Disney+ also recently expanded the Star Wars content on their streaming service just in time for Star Wars Day, with some of the more vintage LucasFilm shows being brought back for fans of all ages to enjoy.
The Star Wars official YouTube channel also has content for fans to enjoy, including exclusive series and other content for fans.
For his part, Mark Hamill – or, Luke Skywalker – and other cast members will be making an appearance at a virtual University of Southern California event benefiting the Leslie and William McMorrow Neighbourhood Academic Initiative, a programme aimed at supporting students “who are using the force within to prepare for college”.
Tickets for the online event appear to still be available for purchase. However, they come at $500 a pop.
Fans looking for a cheaper option, however, can always host a virtual Star Wars Day quiz or screening of their favourite Star Wars films.
Star Wars Day memes
Of course, it wouldn’t be Star Wars Day without social media sites like Twitter and Facebook being dominated by memes honouring the special occasion.
This year, however, many posts have clearly been made with the pandemic in mind, with organisations using May the Fourth as an opportunity to remind people to use the Force to stay safe.
As Nepal contends with a Covid spike, the US Embassy in Nepal shared a “May the Fourth be with you” message to help lift spirits, during an “incredibly difficult times”.
“During these incredibly difficult hours, let’s remember to stick together and support one another – but in physically-distanced ways,” the embassy said in a tweet.
“And let’s remind ourselves to stay strong. As the great Yoda said, ‘Fear is the path to the dark side’,” it said, adding: “May the 4th be with you!”
Meanwhile, in its own post, the Philippine Space Agency used the holiday to remind people to “stay at home, wear your mask and practice social distancing” with an illustration of a double-masked Darth Vader.
“Keep safe, and May the 4th be with you!” the agency wrote.
While this year’s Star Wars Day may not be quite like those of the past, fans will undoubtedly be finding their own ways to mark the special occasion.
As Yoda once said: “Do or do not. There is no try.”