From its humble beginnings in a newspaper ad marking the day of Margaret Thatcher’s election as Britain’s first female prime minister — “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations” — May 4, aka Star Wars Day, has become a Lucasfilm-backed celebration of all things from that galaxy far, far away.
Not surprisingly, quite a few other pop-culture “holidays” have sprung up in its wake.
So, once you’ve finished your “Star Wars” Day festivities and polished off the last of the BB-8-layer dip, Obi-Wantons and chewy Chewie Wookiee cookies, break out your calendars and start getting ready for these other observances:
Judgment Day (Aug. 29)
Thanks to sequels, spinoffs, books and graphic novels, the date that the missile defense system known as Skynet grows self-aware and launches a series a nuclear strikes has become harder to pin down than Easter. But the first date mentioned, in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” is Aug. 29, 1997.
Hogwarts Day (Sept. 1)
In J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, The Hogwarts Express leaves London each year at 11 a.m. on this day, the first of the school year, which ends with the sorting ceremony.
Hobbit Day (Sept. 22) and Tolkien Reading Day (March 25)
Considering hobbits are prominently featured in two of the most popular books in print — as well as two enormous film series — it’s little surprise they’re a part of two holidays. Hobbit Day celebrates the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo, while Tolkien Reading Day encourages fans to re-read their favorite passages by author J.R.R. Tolkien.
“Mean Girls” Day (Oct. 3)
Long before it grabbed a leading 12 Tony nominations, “Mean Girls” was a 2004 teen comedy starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, Lizzy Caplan and Amanda Seyfried. In the movie, Cady (Lohan) remarks that she’d been spending more time talking to Aaron (Jonathan Bennett). “On October Third, he asked me what day it was,” she narrates. “It’s October Third,” Cady tells him. From such minor things are holidays born. To their credit, cast members used the most recent “Mean Girls” Day to solicit donations for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting two days before.
“Back to the Future” Day (Oct. 21)
It was never bigger than Oct. 21, 2015, the day to which Marty and Doc travel in “Back to the Future Part II.” But McFly-hards have kept the holiday alive with smaller parties and remembrances.
Festivus (Dec. 23)
The anti-consumerism alternative to Christmas was celebrated as early as 1966 by the family of “Seinfeld” writer Dan O’Keefe. It wasn’t until it became a plot device in the 1997 episode “The Strike,” though, that Festivus — with its pole, Feats of Strength and Airing of Grievances — became a holiday for the rest of us.
Pokemon Day (Feb. 27)
The day commemorates the birthday of the franchise, not the individual Pokemon characters. Unless they, like all thoroughbred horses in the Northern Hemisphere, share a common birthday. In which case, Pikachu pizzas for everyone!
The Day of the Dude (March 6)
It’s the high holy day — emphasis on high — of Dudeism, aka The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, the religion founded in 2005 based on the tenets espoused by Jeff Bridges in “The Big Lebowski.” After bouncing around the calendar, it settled on March 6, the day in 1998 when the Coen brothers’ movie was released in theaters. Celebrate by bowling, drinking White Russians, wearing your grimiest bathrobe or by simply abiding and taking it easy, man.
“The Breakfast Club” Day (March 24)
To honor the day a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal came together in detention, apply lipstick using only your cleavage, hide your dope in someone else’s underwear or just cram Cap’n Crunch and Pixy Stix between a slice of white bread and a slice of wheat and dig in.
“Alien” Day (April 26)
This one’s a bit of a stretch, but the day stems from Acheron, the moon orbiting Calpamos in the Zeta Reticuli system, from which Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and the rest of the crew of the Nostromo first encountered the Xenomorphs. Acheron’s original name? LV-426, as in 4/26.