It was 41 years ago today on November 17, 1978 that the Star Wars Holiday Special was aired on CBS. While there are many critics of this particular chapter of Star Wars, it did introduce us to our first Star Wars Holiday – Life Day. In the spirit of celebration and all things Star Wars, I hope to find many more reasons to celebrate Star Wars throughout the entire calendar year.
This idea first occurred to me this past May when I noticed a small skirmish on social media. One Star Wars fan was berating the newer generation of Star Wars fans for celebrating “Star Wars Day” on May 4.
If you’re unaware, May 4 has gained significant traction as THE Star Wars Day, some would say primarily because of the play on words that exist. You can greet anyone that day with “May the 4th be with you!” This has certainly been adapted by Disney, most Star Wars licensees, and most of popular culture.
Others would argue that the true Star Wars Day is actually May 25 to commemorate the original Star Wars movie being released in theaters on May 25, 1977.
My initial thought is that May 25 is very “inside baseball” and the new generation of fans was not there for that. So pushing that date won’t gain nearly as much traction. Additionally, some fans push May 25 in a way that alienates a lot of people. The posts on social media mention “the real” Star Wars day, implying that those who recognize the other day are amateurs and not real fans at all. My thought is that we can celebrate both and do so in a way that provides an important Star Wars history/lore lesson. And celebrating both gives us the chance to throw more Star Wars parties, to watch the movies and TV shows more, to have more reasons to talk Star Wars. In fact, celebrating both sets the precedence that we can create even more Star Wars holidays and find more reasons to celebrate throughout the entire year! We can commemorate every release date for every movie and match it with the in-galaxy significant event that occurs in the movie or TV show. With that in mind, we currently have at least 11 movies (yes I count The Clone Wars movie) to celebrate (and maybe a few other dates to commemorate as well). Here is the list!
As Maria once said, let’s start at the very beginning. The original Star Wars movie was released on May 25, 1977. As mentioned, many would like to recognize this as Star Wars Day. I would suggest we leave Star Wars day where it is on May 4, and recognize the significant happenings of this day, which include:
- Destruction of Alderaan
- Battle of Yavin
Arguably, May 25 could be Alderaan Day or Yavin Day. I lean towards Yavin Day as I like more positive events.
A few short years later, on May 21, 1980, The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters. Historic events include:
- Battle of Hoth
- Han is frozen in carbonite
Again trying to keep things celebratory (at least for the Empire), my vote goes with Hoth Day for May 21.
The Original Trilogy comes to a close when Return of the Jedi is released on May 25, 1983. Significant events in this movie are:
- Death of Jabba the Hutt
- Battle for Endor
Very few things get bigger than blowing up a second Death Star, and that is why I celebrate Endor Day on May 25. Is it a coincidence that Yavin Day and Endor Day, though separated by a few years, occur on the same day?
We get a 16 year hiatus, and Star Wars re-enters the world on May 19, 1999. A few things happen in the first prequel:
- The Boonta Eve Classic
- Senator Palpatine is elected Chancellor
- Battle of Naboo
- Death of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn
As this is an actual in-galaxy Star Wars holiday, my preferred celebration is Boonta Eve.
The prequels were definitely on a defined schedule. We didn’t have to measure the success of a movie to determine if we were going to get another. So on May 16, 2002, Attack of the Clones was released. Events included:
- Death of Shmi Skywalker
- Senate provides Chancellor Palpatine with emergency powers
- Battle of Geonosis
Recognizing battles seems to be the easy thing to do. So let’s continue with Geonosis Day.
Episode III Revenge of the Sith closes the prequel trilogy with a bang. The expectation was that this was the last chapter of Star Wars (how wrong we were!) so there are a few things to take note of.
- Battle of Coruscant
- Order 66/The Start of the Jedi Purge
- Birth of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa
- Birth of Ezra Bridger (not actually in the movie)
- Palpatine declares himself Emperor and that the Republic is now the first Galactic Empire.
This is also one of the in-galaxy holidays that we see being celebrated. S1E8 of Rebels is entitled “Empire Day.” We see the people of Lothal rather forcibly celebrate the formation of the Galactic Empire with a parade. We also hear a piece of John Williams’ Star Wars score used in-galaxy – the Imperial March (in a major key).
Fool me twice? We are getting more Star Wars movies! I know I should not hope, but it makes me think that we could revisit the Skywalker story with movies a few years down the road. But back to the point at hand, December 18, 2015 marks the release of The Force Awakens.
- The Destruction of Hosnian system.
- Death of Han Solo
Even though the Resistance manages to destroy Starkiller Base, I think that the First Order can count themselves the winners on this day. So First Order Day it is!
The Last Jedi comes to theaters on December 15, 2017 Events include:
- Death of Supreme Leader Snoke
- Death of Luke Skywalker
- Battle of Crait
While the First Order reduces the Resistance to a meager force, one might still point to this as the re-birth of the Resistance. So December 15 is Resistance Day to me.
We are still just over a month away from The Rise of Skywalker on December 20, 2019. More to report after the first viewing that day.
The first of the Star Wars Stories is released on December 16, 2016 with Rogue One. There may be 2 events that may get the nod for the holiday here:
- Destruction of the Moon of Jedha
- Battle of Scarif
This one is a tough one to separate for me, so perhaps we go with both: Jedha/Scarif Day.
The second Star Wars Story – Solo is released on May 10, 2018. I’d point to these events in this movie:
- Han Solo flies the Kessel Run in less than 12 paresecs
- L3-37 leads a revolt of droids on the planet Kessel
Perhaps we go out on a fun limb and celebrate Droid Independence Day on May 10?
Let’s dig deep and fill out more of the calendar. The Clone Wars movie was released on August 10, 2008 and spring boarded fans into seven seasons of an amazing TV show. Many sources count the Grand Army of the Republic to number 3 million. That is quite the social/genetic experiment to introduce to the galaxy. Certainly, it would be difficult to not be influenced by the Clone Army at some point (or maybe it would be). There are quite a few stories, both canon and legends that talk about clones fathering children. To me, August 10 is clearly Clone Appreciation Day!
Of course, we must pay respects (no matter how difficult it is to watch it) to the Star Wars Holiday Special. As mentioned, this was aired on CBS on November 17, 1978. So November 17 is where we celebrate Life Day (not just for the Wookiees). By the way, for those of you who play SWTOR (if you don’t, you should), you should all be donning your Life Day apparel during the appropriate season in the game.
This conversation would not complete without some sort of Ewok holiday! Those little guys can clearly throw down! It was November 25, 1984 and November 24, 1985 that Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor were broadcast on ABC. Let’s call it November 24 and celebrate Ewok Barbecue Day! And no, we are not BBQing Imperials or Ewoks. Let’s just warm up for Thanksgiving!
And perhaps my favorite for last, Disney + went live with a wealth of content including the first Star Wars live action television series the Mandalorian on November 11, 2019. We can celebrate all things Mando on Manalorian Day on November 11.
So that’s my first attempt at it. As the movies do come out around the same year, it does bunch up all those days pretty close together. Of course, you don’t have to celebrate all of these days, but go for it if you want to!
I’m open to suggestions, so post them in the comments! 🙂 You can see the summary below and a few other ideas I didn’t completely flesh out so far.
|For the Calendar||Original Date||Holiday||Media|
|April 21||N/A||TK-421 Day (Stormtrooper Day)|
|May 4||N/A||Star Wars Day|
|May 10||May 10, 2018||Droid Independence||Solo|
|May 16||May 16, 2002||Geonosis Day||Attack of The Clones|
|May 19||May 19, 1999||Boonta Eve||The Phantom Menace|
|May 19||May 19, 2005||Empire Day||Revenge of The Sith|
|May 25||May 25, 1977||Yavin Day||A New Hope|
|May 25||May 25, 1983||Endor Day||Return of The Jedi|
|August 10||August 10, 2008||Clone Appreciation||Clone Wars Movie|
|November 11||November 11, 2019||Mandalorian Day||The Mandalorian|
|November 17||November 17, 1978||Life Day||Star Wars Holiday Special|
|November 24||November 25, 1984|
November 24, 1985
|Ewok Barbecue Day|| Caravan of Courage|
Battle for Endor
|December 15||December 15, 2017||Resistance Day||The Last Jedi|
|December 16||December 16, 2016||Jedha/Scarif Day||Rogue One|
|December 18||December 18, 2015||First Order Day||The Force Awakens|
- Clone Wars (TV Show) Oct 3, 2008
- Rebels Oct 3, 2014
- Droids Sept 7, 1985
- Ewoks Sept 7, 1985
- George Lucas’ Birthday May14, 1944 – Thank The Maker Day?
Star Wars Celebrations from StarWars.com