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May the pasta pirates be with you…

Tomorrow is International Stars Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you.

For the uninitiated: Star Wars Day, observed since the late 1970s, is an informal commemorative day to celebrate the space opera franchise in all its iterations: Movies, games, Disney + exclusives, novels, LEGO, the works.

According to the origin story, the Star Wars Day catchphrase was officially used on May 4, 1979, when Margaret Thatcher took office as UK prime minister. The Tory Party placed an ad in the London Evening News which read, “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations.” [Either a brilliant or ruinous link, depending on your preference]. The catchphrase took off in the social media age, Lucasfilm and Disney upped the marketing machine, and a new holiday was born. Hardcore devotees usually celebrate with watch parties, dress-ups, fan art, and buying new merch. Because you can’t fault Disney for its business sense.

A confession: Star Wars doesn’t light my saber [apologies to the fans – this is not the column you’re looking for]. I have some great memories watching the original trilogy with my Dad, Carrie Fisher was amazing, and the creature design has aged impeccably. Still … it’s a Western set in space. You love it, or you don’t.

If, like me, you can take or leave Star Wars, there’s no shortage of unofficial commemorations to choose from. Humans are nothing if not observant. Type “weird national holidays” into Google – you’ll see what I mean.

September 19, for example, is International Talk Like A Pirate Day – which started as a joke between two friends, and gained prominence after appearing in a satirical newspaper column circa 1995. Observers of this tradition are challenged to drop pirate “lingo” into daily exchanges – asking for change for “a gold bullion” at the supermarket, and acknowledging the boss with an “Aye, aye, Capt’n”. Workplace swordfights are a matter of discretion.

I’ve never worked anywhere that’s observed Talk Like A Pirate Day. An authentic pirate accent is difficult to sustain – unless you’re Geoffrey Rush. And pirate puns get old.

For the chronically overwhelmed among us, there’s International Moment of Frustration Scream Day on October 12. Invented by Americans Ruth and Thomas Roy, the occasion permits all frazzled adherents to step outside at 12pm and scream for 30 seconds.

Apparently, screaming is good for you: It can help release tension, boost endorphins, and even increase physical strength by up to 7 per cent. Therapists recommended screaming in nature, into your pillow, in your car, or along to your favourite songs – or, if you’re a parent, to the Frozen soundtrack. Heavy metal Disney – I’m down.

The website nationalday.com/what-is-today has some interesting ideas. April 27 is Love Your Thighs Day [why not?!]. Today, May 3, is Garden Meditation Day. If you have the patience for either gardening or meditation, I salute you.

In the US, my birthday [October 17] is National Pasta Day. My favourite food group. Earlier this year, the UK Food Standards Authority moved to restrict shared birthday cakes in the office, comparing the proximity of sugar-filled treats to passive smoking. I wonder if birthday pasta buffets would be more tolerable. Too many carbs? Never.

I can’t say I’m a big one for national holidays. If you love your partner, you show them on the regular – not with an overpriced card one day of the year. If you love Star Wars, any day is an excuse to binge The Holy Trilogy. If you love pasta, Pasta Day falls at least twice a week.

If you are more of the devout type, you’re officially spoilt for choice. However, I’d advise warning the neighbours before any October screaming sessions.

This is a ridiculous column, Wairarapa. In my defence, today is World Press Freedom Day…

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall is the editor of the Wairarapa Midweek. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and has a keen interest in arts, culture, social issues, and community justice.

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