May the Fourth and other pundamental dates to celebrate

Photo of author
Written By Samuel Laurie

Q: What do calendars eat?

A: Dates.

May the Fourth is a well-known pun that uses the 4th of May as a reason to celebrate Star Wars. But it’s not the only event on the calendar that has its base in a pun.

May the Fourth

May the Fourth started as a pun shared among friends and fans and has grown with Star Wars to its worldwide cult following today. One of the earliest records of May the Fourth was in 1979, a mere two years after A New Hope was first released. Although the day was first a celebration created by fans, official Star Wars media quickly got on board, encouraging the use of the hashtag #StarWarsDay. 

The first organised celebration of Star Wars Day took place at Toronto Underground Cinema. The celebrations included trivia and costume competitions, fan-made mash ups, parodies and tributes played on the big screen. Since 2013, Disney has officially celebrated, staging Star Wars events at Disneyland and Walt Disney world. Return of the Fifth and Revenge of the Sixth are both puns that many fans use celebrate the villains of Star Wars in the days following May the Fourth, with much debate over which is a better pun. 

Pi Day – 3.14

Although the celebration of Pi Day on March 14th works best written in the American MM/DD/YY format, it is internationally recognised and has grown to celebrate mathematics in general, as well as Pi. The first known large scale celebration of Pi Day was held in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Staff and the public marched around in one of its circular spaces and ate fruit pies. Pi Day in 2015 had extra significance as at 9:26:53 am and pm on 3/14/15, the first ten digits of Pi were represented in the date and time: 3.141592653. 

Pies have been a significant part of celebrating Pi Day based on the pun that is Pi and pie being homophones, as well as the happy accident that Pi is all about circles and pies are circular. Princetown in New Jersey has the added celebration of the birthday of Albert Einstein on March 14th and holds both a pie eating contest and an Einstein lookalike contest on the day. On Pi Day some stores have been known to join the celebration by selling pies for 3.14 dollars.

May 8 – Mate 

While it might not be on everyone’s radar at the moment, May 8 is appearing more often, especially in Australia. Comedian Jordan Raskopoulos put forward May 8 as an alternative date for Australia Day. She originally tweeted her idea, where it picked up traction. Raskopolous then made a video further explaining her idea. 

She’s not the only one to have noticed how similar mate and May 8 sound. 7mate recently released an ad in which mate/May 8 was said 15 times in 40 seconds. The simple dialogue and humour in confusing mate and May 8, as well as its repetition, ensures the audience knows exactly when the show is returning to air. Marketing teams may be taking notes from 7mate for next year, although 7mate has an advantage as many of their ads already involve mate.

Want to learn how puns can improve your writing? We’ve got you covered with this blog.