Happy Life Day, Star Wars fans! Yes, the day is upon us. Though George Lucas hates to admit it, he first introduced us to the Wookiee celebration of life in the original Star Wars Holiday Special way back in 1978. The special was so good for being so bad. It even developed its own a cult-like following. Questions about the special swirled for years: is the special is canon? Would there ever be another? Disney and Lucasfilm answered some of those questions. The new (LEGO) holiday special debuts today. But what do you really know about Life Day, the subject of the original?
The original Star Wars Holiday Special was, as we all know, an unmitigated disaster. Lucas himself once declared he’d like to the find all copies and smash them with a hammer. The underlying story, however, wasn’t the issue. In it, Chewbacca returns home to Kashyyyk to celebrate the Wookiee holiday with his family. When you stop and think about what the holiday is meant to embrace, it takes on a much more heartfelt meaning.
Celebrating Life Day
Here’s the official description of the Wookiee celebration from starwars.com:
A longstanding Wookiee tradition, Life Day celebrates the values and tenets of Wookiee culture, including family, joy, and harmony. While Life Day is a celebration traditionally held at the Tree of Life on Kashyyyk and observed by extended Wookiee families, Wookiees throughout the galaxy still mark the day. When Wookiees were enslaved by the Empire, the holiday took on an even greater significance. Today, people from planets across the galaxy have embraced this tradition and made it their own by celebrating with festive décor, twinkling string lights, unique food and drink items, music, and activities.”
One can almost describe Life Day as Wookiee Christmas (or Hanukkah, Diwali, or any other similar, theological-type celebration of life and joy). In these difficult times were facing, I think we should all take a moment of unity to appreciate the lessons of the Wookiee tradition:
People share the hopes of celebrating freedom, harmony, and peace, no matter how different people may appear. At the end of the day, everyone gathers to sing songs and be reminded of their dedication, courage, and love for one another. This is the promise of the Tree of Life.”
Happy Life Day, and may the Force bless us, everyone.