Happy Life Day, the Star Wars holiday celebrating Wookiee life

November 17 is the generally accepted date of Life Day, the holiday that according to Star Wars lore originated in Chewbacca's Wookiee culture and then spread to the rest of the galaxy.

It was first introduced in the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special," a television special broadcast on CBS on November 17, 1978. The special was so bad, and out of the tone of the original movie that had premiered the previous year, it was quickly buried and ignored by the gatekeepers of official Star Wars canon.

It's incredible that George Lucas followed up his 1977 blockbuster Star Wars, a masterpiece of pacing, tone, world-building, and innovative special effects, just a year later with this special, which is boring, slow-moving, thoughtless, cheap, and slapdash, even by the standards of 1970s variety shows (which is saying a lot).

But during the decades before the YouTube era in which it was virtually impossible to see (I watched it with my kids at a Museum of Broadcasting), it became beloved, or at least the object of fascination, as a campy anomaly throughout Star Wars fandom.

The holiday is barely explained in the special, but Star Wars scholars have pieced together various stories and theories based on unpublished background material prepared for the special and transcribed interviews with George Lucas.

A thorough history of the holiday is at StarWars.com, link here. Of course, the weirdest story about the holiday's"s Wookiee origins comes from Lucas himself:

"[Life Day] used to be a hallucinogenic experience. They [Wookiees] used to chew a certain kind of root, and they would all freak out and experience this communal sort of hallucinatory experience. Some of the families still use that, but since it makes you sick afterward, many use the environmental transporter."

I guess you can celebrate the holiday today by watching the special, if you can stand it. It may be boring and… lifeless, but at least when your eyes and/or ears melt, you can fast forward to the Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher cameos and the 70s-tastic guest stars, like Bea Arthur, Art Carney, and Harvey Korman.

Other ways to celebrate could be with hallucinogenics (which I can't recommend), watching bad dancing and juggling to ear-cringingly horrible music on your hologram platform (see 8:20 in the special), or exchanging gifts at your Kashyyyk tree of life.

h/t: Tom Tomorrow