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Happy Star Wars Day: How May the 4th Came to Be – Including Its Surprising Connection to Margaret Thatcher!

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Today is no ordinary day – today is Star Wars Day!

Every year on May 4, Star Wars fans everywhere celebrate their love for the franchise by using a greeting straight from a galaxy far, far away: “May the fourth be with you.”

And while the term is simply a play on words deriving from the one of the saga’s most famous phrases “May the Force be with you,” it turns out, the Star Wars fandom weren’t the first ones to coin the popular saying.

Apparently, Star Wars fanatics have former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to thank for the tradition. It’s believed that the phrase dates back to May 4, 1979, the day Thatcher took office as Prime Minister – and two years after the release of the first Star Wars film. Thatcher’s political party placed a congratulatory ad in a London paper that read “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

The terms was used again on May 4, 1994 in a U.K. Parliament defense debate.

It wasn’t until years later that the internet got hold of the phrase and launched it into a national holiday. In 2011, the Toronto Underground Cinema organized the first official Star Wars day complete with costume contests, games and a film festival. The rest is well, history.

While every May 4 is a big day for Wookiees and Jedis alike, this year is an especially exciting time for the franchise. Not only did fans get to bask in the release of the franchise’s first stand-alone film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but just months later they were treated to the first trailer for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

May the 4th be with you.