TIME Appreciation

May the 4th Be With You: A Brief History of Star Wars Day

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A member of the Star Wars fan club dressed as Princess Leia celebrates "Star Wars Day" in front of the Colosseum in central Rome on May 4, 2014. Tiziana Fabi—AFP/Getty Images

Get out your Princess Leia costumes and lightsabers and get ready to party

Today is not a regular day. Today is Star Wars Day!

Well, unofficially it is. Fans of the franchise adopted May 4 as the day to celebrate all things Star Wars simply because “May the 4th” sounds a lot like “May the force be with you.”

Apparently, we might have former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher to thank for this tradition. She was elected on May 4, 1979 — two years after Star Wars was released. Entertainment Weekly reports that an ad in the London Evening News read, “May The Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations.”

But it wasn’t until years later (you know, because of the Internet) that the phrase truly took off. In 2011, the Toronto Underground Cinema in Canada put together an organized celebration with a costume contest and a film festival.

Now, businesses have caught on to this unofficial holiday by offering special deals and discounts on Star Wars-related merchandise. If you want to keep corporations from co-opting the day, then bust out your Princess Leia costume and let yourself get a little weird today. May the 4th be with all of you.

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