This month, Wookiee families throughout Kashyyyk observed Life Day, a celebration with music, decorations, festive red robes, and special treats geared towards emphasizing peace, harmony, and family around the “Tree of Life.” Fans first heard about Life Day on November 17, 1978, when The Star Wars Holiday Special debuted. For this reason, November 17 has been designated as the official date of Life Day among fans.
Like Life Day, some of the holiday events created by popular fictional worlds within the canon of their stories have become almost as well known as real-world events. Others are favorite inside jokes among fans.
As many of us head into Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter celebrations, let’s take a look at some random and geeky facts about holidays and observances from pop culture and fiction.
1. Although The Star Wars Holiday Special was a bust when it first (and last) aired on television in 1978, the Life Day celebration remained a fan favorite reference in the Star Wars Universe, from mentions in extended universe books and seasonal songs and observations at Disney Parks’ Galaxy’s Edge to inclusion in the current series, The Mandalorian. The next generation of Star Wars heroes are also celebrating the event with the new Disney+ LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, which debuted this year on Life Day.
2. The official StarWars.com site has a guide to hosting a Life Day celebration, which includes making Life Day orbs and “Hoth Chocolate,” and, of course, Wookiee Cookies.
3. Players of the Bungie video game Destiny can explore the worlds during several holiday celebrations throughout the year, such as the beautifully adorned “The Dawning,” which coincides with the more Earthly Christmas season. There is also the fall Festival of the Lost (that includes candy trading) and the spring celebration of love and friendship, the Crimson Days.
4. In the now-famous 1997 Seinfeld episode “The Strike,” Frank Costanza created an anti-holiday, Festivus, as a stubborn way to counter the high-stress holiday season. Today, the bare-bones “Festivus for the rest of us” event is a battle cry for people everywhere fed up with holiday hype. Festivus is marked by events like the “Airing of Grievances” around the plain aluminum Festivus Pole, a plain meatloaf dinner, and a little wrestling.
5. Individuals “Googling” information on Festivus can get a fun visual treat with a “Festivus Pole” graphic on the left edge of the search pages. The official day for Festivus is December 23.
6. One observance that is now celebrated among friends in the real world is Galentine’s Day, created by the perpetually creative Leslie Knope from the television series Parks and Recreation. Held each year on February 13, the day is a chance for women to get together with favorite gal pals in a display of friendship without the forced romantic trappings.
7. The idea of Galentine’s Day became so popular, retailers such as Hallmark offer “Galentine’s Day” inspired gift ideas and cards. For some reason, this now also includes many Golden Girls-themed items.
8. Another television-inspired holiday is a mash-up of two very real celebrations, Christmas and Hanukkah, “Chrismukkah,” when O.C. character Seth Cohen came up with a way to combine the traditions of his Jewish father and Christian mother into one big party. The music for the celebration he chose to mark the occasion was his favorite band, Death Cab for Cutie. Here, Seth (Adam Brody) gives the rundown on some aspects of “the greatest super holiday in creation.”
9. The gritty storybook world of Fableton in the Vertigo series Fables has its own more solemn observance, Remembrance Day, in which the Fables celebrate their escape from the homeland and remember those who didn’t make it out. The celebration is a notable time for fans of the comics who got to see the first “date” between Fables power couple Bigby Wolf and Snow White at the Remembrance Ball in the series’ first story arc.
10. Whovians celebrate several “Wholidays” inspired by Doctor Who, but The Doctor’s home planet Gallifrey does have several “real” holidays, including a healthy amount of feast days and remembrance days. The Gallifreyan New Year is held on what would be October 20 (in Earth days) and is marked by celebrating the Web of Time, created by one Gallifreyan founder Lord Rassilon. Different incarnations of The Doctor have referred to the Web of Time, including a prophecy from the Twelfth Doctor’s era that a “hybrid” creature (created from races from two worlds) standing over the ruins of Gallifrey would unravel the Web of Time.
For everyone celebrating something, somewhere in some far off universe, enjoy the “official” Life Day song from Princess Leia herself:
We celebrate a day of peace, a day of harmony,
a day of joy we all can share together joyously!