Celebrating midwinter holidays has been a part of Star Wars since nearly the franchise’s beginning. In a storytelling universe where hope plays such an important role, it seems only fitting for people to come together during the year’s darkest days to celebrate the coming of brighter times.
The Roots of Life Day
One of those holidays is Life Day, which first appeared in the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. A parallel to the winter holidays and festivals observed in our earthly cultures. In the Star Wars universe, it is a celebration of joy, harmony, and family that originates with the Wookiees on Kashyyyk.
Though the Holiday Special went over poorly, the observance became part of the fabric of the Star Wars universe. It’s been mentioned in novels and video games since the 1990s. More recently, in the 2019 premiere episode of The Mandalorian, a collared bounty bemoans the fact that he won’t make it home for the big day. Then, in November 2020—when we all probably needed the levity—Lucasfilm gave us a new Life Day-oriented television event with the Lego Star Wars Holiday Special.
But until recently, there wasn’t much storytelling focused on the holiday itself. Cavan Scott (author of Into the Storm and Tempest Runner) had worked on Christmas-themed projects for other properties and saw room for one in Star Wars. In an earlier interview he and coauthor George Mann gave to Wealth of Geeks, Scott says he led his pitch with “Ewoks in the snow.”
He probably didn’t have to work too hard to convince anybody after that.
A Treasury is Born
Thus was born the Star Wars Life Day Treasury. The collection of eight stories follows the same format as Mann’s previous two collections of in-universe tales, Myths & Legends and Dark Fables, including striking art by Grant Griffin.
In addition to lending itself to the title, Life Day appears in two of the eight tales. Scott and Mann use the others to highlight other midwinter holidays and festivals throughout the galaxy in a way that nicely mirrors the diverse observances in our own world.
Readers will recognize some familiar holiday storytelling tropes. In planning the book, the two authors chose different types of yuletide stories to reframe in a Star Wars setting. A character faces haunting apparitions reminiscent of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Two opposing combatants briefly set aside their differences, much like in World War I’s ‘Christmas Truce.' There’s even a story with a hint of romance.
Of course, there are plenty of Star Wars Easter eggs to enjoy. Fans of the High Republic will see one of the greatest Jedi from that era having a much better day than he does in any of the novels. In another story, we encountered a wizened old mad—a crazy old hermit, perhaps—who seems awfully familiar, even though we never catch his name. Wickett, not surprisingly, is one of the “Ewoks in the snow,” along with friends some readers may not have encountered since the Ewoks animated series back in the 1980s. In a nice nod to the original Holiday Special, we visit Chewbacca’s family and the Tree of Life on Kashyyyk.
The book is suitable for younger readers but certainly enjoyable for the older among us, and it lends itself to enjoying together. While some might consider it a bit niche, it has a place right next to The Polar Express and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in my holiday collection; perhaps it could become part of your family’s own Life Day tradition!
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.