'Star Wars Day': What to do on May 4 (and why)

Story highlights

  • "May the 4th be with you" went from a pun to a hashtag to a holiday
  • Fans celebrate the day worldwide in a number of ways

(CNN)It's not just a pun.

"May the 4th be with you" is a full-fledged unofficial holiday, "Star Wars Day."
    Actually, as far as Lucasfilm and Disney are concerned, it's quite official.
    So why this day, and what is there to do other than watch it trend on Twitter? (After all, it's apparently important enough to send hardcore fans into a tizzy when they feel it's been mistreated.)
    As legend has it, and according to the origin story recognized by Lucasfilm, the phrase was first used on May 4, 1979, the day Margaret Thatcher took office as UK prime minister. The Conservative party allegedly placed an ad in the London Evening News which read, "May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations."
    It took off in the social media age (where it has become a big deal every year) and finally expanded to real-life with events in Toronto. Now, there are events celebrating the day worldwide.
    There are online and in-store deals on "Star Wars" merchandise and gaming, "Star Wars" food galore and events where fans are encouraged to dress up or play "Star Wars" trivia or just enjoy their favorite film franchise.
    Vanity Fair is also getting into the spirit of things with an issue filled with new photos and revelations about December's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
    Most of the family-friendly events happpened over the weekend, but here are five things you can do on Star Wars Day:
    1) Get out your stormtrooper costume and cosplay with your friends
    'Star Wars' fans get an extra special May 4th
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    Toronto's Smiling Buddha -- where Star Wars Day revelry began -- offers music, performances and the chance to "cosplay as your favorite characters while being surrounded by other fans in the most wretched hive of scum and villainy." See if there's one in your neck of the woods.
    2) Watch the movies with an adult beverage (or not)
    Atlanta's Battle and Brew bar offers "Star Wars" movies and a themed drink. What more can you ask from a bar targeting the nerd crowd? If there are no showings in your town, why not host your own?
    3) Cosplay competitively
    Chicago's Geek Bar Beta is hosting a cosplay contest in the Windy City. Again, this could be a great excuse to host your own costume contest if there are none in your area.
    4) Be charitable
    UNICEF and Lucasfilm/Disney have joined forces with a wearable power band that allows fans, young and old, to get moving and help children in need around the world.
    And if you happen to be in Sydney, Australia, you can support Scott Loxley, a man who has been walking the country in a sandtrooper costume to raise money for charity. Participants can "walk a mile" in his boots by hopping on a treadmill.
    5) Stay at home and throw your own party
    The ever-creative and ever-geeky Justjennrecipes.com has more "Star Wars" themed sweets than you can swing a lightsaber at.