November 17, 1978 is a date which will live in infamy – it was the day the unquenchingly horrible Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS. In a world aching for more Star Wars, it was a beacon of hope for fans – only to have those hopes dashed when it was discovered just how bad the show truly was.
Still, it did do a couple of important things: first, the animated sequence in it was the first appearance of the character Boba Fett, who would figure prominently in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. Secondly, it established Life Day as a holiday on Kashyyk, the Wookiee homeworld, and some of the traditions regarding what that holiday was like.
Fast forward to 2019, to Disneyland’s Star Wars theme park addition “Galaxy’s Edge”, and Shawn Crosby, SCIFI.radio’s weekday morning DJ and Jedi About Fandom. He, his friend David Milano, his wife Colleen Crosby and mutual friend Jeff Donoho put together a Life Day celebration, and posted the event on Facebook, expecting perhaps three or four dozen people to show up.
More than four times that did. Here’s a documentary of the event, shot by The Daily Woo (“Adam the Woo”), showing all the fun and mischief attendees got up to with the guest of honor, Chewbacca the Wookiee!
If May the 4th, “Star Wars Day”, is geekdom’s 4th of July, then November 17 is its Thanksgiving, Channukah and Christmas all rolled into one. The holiday is replete with the color red, as evidenced by the red robes worn in the Holiday Special, so attendees were asked to wear as much red as they could. They also made Life Day orbs from DIY clear plastic Christmas ornaments and decorations, stuffed with clear acetate and balloon lights to recreate the orbs used on the TV show.
There were Life Day Carols, filk sung to the tune of familiar holiday songs, and a processional that lead around Batuu and ending up in front of Docking Bay 94 for a final photo op with Chewbacca. It was so popular that plans were made immediately afterward to do it again in 2020.
In a topsy turvy world, it is wonderful to find simply joy in one another’s company.
Happy Life Day, everyone!
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