MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – When the calendar flips to the first week of May, it’s like a small slice of the holiday season for Star Wars fans.
It’s not a national holiday, yet it might be an intergalactic one.
May the Fourth, as in “May the Fourth Be With You” has become a day to celebrate all things Star Wars, especially following 2015’s revival of the series with “Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens” and the success of last year’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
The epic space opera franchise will keep humming along later this year when “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” is released in December.
Like many Star Wars characters, “May the Fourth” comes with an interesting origin story.
One of the earliest known references to the day followed the May 4, 1979, election of Margaret Thatcher as Britain’s prime minister, according to a post on the official Star Wars website.
Thatcher’s party took out an ad in the London Evening News with the message, “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,” the website said, adding that the day took off once the Internet began connecting fans.
NASA got in on the fun with a blog comparing real planets to the ones depicted in Star Wars, including Saturn’s moon, Mimas, which has become known as the “Death Star” moon thanks to its distinctive crater.
Retailers are trying to turn fan enthusiasm into a profit. Many, including GameStop, LEGO, Hallmark and Build A Bear Workshop are offering special deals and promotions for the holiday.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)