What Does ‘May the 4th Be With You’ Mean? Everything To Know About the Star Wars Day Greeting

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Star Wars 1977 cast

"May the 4th be with you" is arguably one of the most well-known pop culture greetings that have to do with the month of May. More popular, even, than the annual April 30th Justin Timberlake "It's gonna be May" meme. The Star Wars-themed greeting is well-known within circles that obsess over the franchise. If you're not too versed in Jedi-speak or the Force, fear not! Here's your primer on everything related to the phrase "May the fourth be with you" and how to honor it.

What does 'May the 4th be with you' mean?

"May the fourth be with you" is a play on words calling back to "May the Force be with you," a common saying among Jedi and believers of the Force in Star Wars.

Related: 40 Yoda Quotes That Will Leave You With All the 'Star Wars' Feels

Who said 'May the Force be with you' first in Star Wars?

In the first film, Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, General Jan Dodonna (played by Alex McCrindle in 1977) tells the Rebel pilots "May the Force be with you" as they're about to attack the Death Star. The catchphrase is uttered several more times, including by Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in a conversation with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).

A big moment when this is said is in Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, when Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Anakin Skywalker "Goodbye, old friend. May the Force be with you." This is the last time they ever see each other as fellow Jedi; the next time they meet is on Mustafar after Anakin has turned to the Dark Side and become Darth Vader. 

Other characters have used variations of the phrase as well throughout the franchise, including (but not limited to) Jedi often saying "May the Force go with you" and Admiral Ackbar saying "May the Force be with us." Ahead of their own duel in Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker, "The Force is with you, young Skywalker."

Of course, there are a lot more uses of "May the Force be with you!" See a slew of them from throughout the Star Wars canon below.

Related: The Force Is Strong With These 101 Most Epic Star Wars Quotes Ever

Who says May the Fourth be with you?

The first known use of the phrase is actually credited to a Margaret Thatcher political ad from May 4, 1979, the day after she was elected prime minister of Great Britain. The phrase has been popular ever since.

The next known use of the pun was in a 1988 episode of the British animated series Count Duckula, which you can see below:

On May 4, 1994, Harry M. Cohen used the saying during a debate in British Parliament, reportedly snapping, "May the fourth is an appropriate date for a defense debate. My researcher, who is a bit of a wit, said that it should be called national star wars day. He was talking about the film Star Wars rather than President Ronald Reagan's defense fantasy, and he added, 'May the fourth be with you.' That is a very bad joke; he deserves the sack for making it, but he is a good researcher."

Five years later, "May the fourth be with you" was written in the book The Science of Star Wars.

In 2008, Facebook users declared May 4 to be "Luke Skywalker Day," later changed to "Star Wars Day," in honor of the famous phrase. Three years later in Toronto, the first organized Star Wars Day was celebrated in Toronto.

Some Star Wars megafans also celebrated the "Revenge of the Fifth" and "Revenge of the Sixth," depending on their preference for which pun sounds best and most like "Revenge of the Sith."

Related: 35 Funny May Memes About Spring Flowers, Allergies and the Weather

What do you do on Star Wars Day?

May the 4th be with you is a great day to celebrate all things Star Wars. How you celebrate is obviously up to you, but many Star Wars fans commemorate the date by cosplaying as their favorite characters, watching the films and TV series from the franchise, and, of course, quoting them like crazy. Many fans host and attend watch parties, participate in Star Wars-themed activities and crafts and even make Star Wars-inspired snacks. (We recommend these cinnamon rolls and sticky buns that look a lot like General Leia's signature 'do.)

What day does May 4th fall on in 2024?

May 4, 2024, falls on a Saturday.

What to watch on May the 4th

To celebrate Star Wars Day, you can binge the franchise's films: Here's how to watch the Star Wars movies in order.

You can also watch Star Wars TV shows, including:

For some somewhat left-field viewing, you can also watch:

All Star Wars TV shows and films are available for streaming on Disney+ with a subscription. With the exception of Disney+ originals, you can pay to rent or purchase the others from different streamers.

Next, crack up at these Star Wars memes!