- "This holiday is yours, but we all share with you the hope that this day brings us closer to freedom, and to harmony, and to peace. No matter how different we appear, we're all the same in our struggle against the powers of evil and darkness. I hope that this day will always be a day of joy in which we can reconfirm our dedication and our courage. And more than anything else, our love for one another. This is the promise of the Tree of Life."
- ―Princess Leia Organa
Life Day was a Wookiee holiday celebrated by the inhabitants of Kashyyyk. It was a celebration of the planet's diverse ecosystem and the many forms of life it encompassed. It was also a time to remember family members who had died, and the young ones who continued to bring new life to a family. Life Day was a sacred holiday, and many Wookiees considered it their duty to return to Kashyyyk in order to celebrate it. Life Day was held once every three local years for many generations, but it became celebrated more frequently as its popularity slowly grew to the wider galaxy. Despite its name, the holiday could also be celebrated over the course of at least a couple days. By the time of the Galactic Civil War, Life Day's importance to the Wookiees had become more pronounced. Because Wookiees were spread across the galaxy, either for personal reasons or due to their enslavement to the Galactic Empire, the holiday was celebrated as a way to remain in touch with their history. Outside of the traditional Wookiee holiday, the term "life day" or "lifeday" was sometimes used to describe the anniversary of one's birth.
- "A big part of their Life Day celebration is a spiritual passage to the Life Tree… where Wookiee culture began! Orga root helps them make the journey!"
- ―Han Solo, to C-3PO
The origins of Life Day lay in the culture of the Wookiees, sentient mammals who hailed from the arboreal world of Kashyyyk, with evidence that Wookiees celebrated the holiday by beating tree drums as early as 1,500,000 BBY. The Tree of Life was the birthplace of Wookiee culture, and it served as a central gathering place for the holiday. For many generations, Life Day was celebrated every three local years, but as the joyous holiday spread throughout the galaxy, many species and cultures began holding the celebration once a year.
During the Galactic WarEdit
- "This disgraceful menace of a 'holiday,' during which time you are expected to comply fully with this edict, will last approximately two weeks on the Galactic Standard Calendar."
- ―Extract from the Imperial Edict GR-1NC4
By the end of the Cold War around 3640 BBY, the tradition of exchanging gifts and decorating homes with festive Life Day flair had already become a mainstream aspect of the holiday. By the time of the Galactic War, holographic Life Day Trees could even be found on the Core World of Coruscant, capital city of the Galactic Republic. To celebrate Life Day, a jolly old man dubbed the "Master of Ceremonies" set up shop on the Republic's Carrick Station, along with an entourage of Life Day Revelers comprising of Humans and Wookiees. While the Republic welcomed the Master and his followers without issue, Imperial Edict GR-1NC4 heavily discouraged citizens of the Sith Empire from participating in Life Day, largely because of certain activities being deemed unbecoming of Imperial citizenry. Regardless, the Master of Ceremonies had somehow obtained an official license to peddle his "holiday cheer" in the Galactic Trade Market sector of the Empire's Vaiken Spacedock in the Outer Rim Territories, an error for which those in licensing had been punished to the fullest extent of Imperial law. Despite this oversight, the sale of Life Day goods was allowed to proceed, however items sold by the Master of Ceremonies remained under review per Section 53-T of Imperial law, and citizens were warned that purchasing such items may constitute an official contraband violation. The edict also noted that the Revelers' presence coincided with the reappearance of the Gray Secant, an ancient Gree starship, over the planet Ilum—which marked the return of the once powerful Gree Enclave to known space. At any rate, the anti-Life Day edict was widely ignored, and some Imperial citizens indulged in a number of tawdry activities, like snowball fights.
During the Clone WarsEdit
- "Well done, General! I think we have won! Now we can return to the parties and fun!"
- ―Commander Cody, to a Jedi General, after defeating General Grievious on Life Day
Thousands of years later, during the time of Clone Wars, Life Day was celebrated at the main Jedi Temple on Coruscant. The hallowed halls of the temple were decorated with garlands and colored Life Day orbs hanging from the ceiling, along with a small wroshyr tree surrounded by gift boxes in the temple's main hall. Service droids, including the R2-series astromech droids P3-NUT and 6R-0WL, and the R5-series astromech droid BR-RR, bore festive paintings. Some clone troopers donned fancy armors, such as nutcracker armor and Life Day clone trooper armor. Even the Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi was known to wear festive clothing during the holiday. While the Republic was quite fond of Life Day, the opposing Confederacy of Independent Systems were not, as evidenced by their offensive attack on a settlement on the icy planet of Orto Plutonia that celebrated the occasion. Like the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, the Orto Plutonian settlement was decorated with garlands and Life Day orbs. A number of wroshyr trees had also been placed throughout the settlement, surrounded by numerous gift boxes. The Pantorans, hoping to mend their past rifts with the native Talz, sought to deliver these gifts to them as a token of goodwill. The infamous Separatist Droid Army Supreme Commander, General Grievous, schemed to put a stop to this by sending his battle droids to attack the settlement and steal all the presents. However, under the leadership of Clone Commander Cody and a Jedi General, the Grand Army of the Republic and the Jedi Order stood poised to drive Grievous and the other Separatists off. Shortly after Grievous landed on Orto Plutonia aboard his Belbullab-22 starfighter, the Soulless One, a large droid army consisting of B1 battle droids, B2 super battle droids, DSD1 dwarf spider droids, Armored Assault Tanks, NR-N99 Persuader-class droid enforcers, and Single Trooper Aerial Platforms invaded the settlement. Despite a relentless onslaught of five waves of battle droids, which included even General Grievous himself, the assortment of defensive fixtures constructed throughout the settlement managed to pick away at the attackers. In the end, when Grievous realized all was lost, he called for a retreat, and hastily ran away from the battlefield.
During the Galactic Civil WarEdit
- "Bah, humbug!"
- ―Emperor Palpatine on Life Day
By the time of the Galactic Civil War, Life Day had become increasingly important to the Wookiees since the Galactic Empire had enslaved many of their kind. One particular Life Day holiday was celebrated around 3 BBY, while other various festivities were carried out between 0 BBY and 3 ABY, including one noteworthy celebration halfway through the year 1 ABY, in which the Rebel Alliance hero Han Solo attempted to bring his Wookiee companion Chewbacca home to Kashyyyk in time to see his family. Despite being forced to evade an Imperial blockade of Kashyyyk, Han successfully brought Chewie to his home in Rwookrrorro. They also made it in time to partake in the Tree of Life ceremony, as did Luke Skywalker and his two droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Princess Leia Organa was also there to sing "A Day to Celebrate," a celebratory Life Day hymn. The ceremony also saw the inclusion of many other Wookiees, all of whom wore ceremonial Life Day robes. This was not the only time Han Solo and Chewbacca traveled to Kashyyyk for Life Day. During a subsequent holiday, the duo arrived to the planet along with R2-D2 and C-3PO, only to discover that the Wookiee elder had cancelled the event due to a lack of Orga root. Chewbacca, angered by this decision, attacked the elder. Han Solo defused the situation by agreeing to travel to Kashyyyk's lower levels to search for the root. Journeying with Chewbacca and the droids, the group managed to acquire the root, after witnessing the plants killing a group of Imperials. An Imperial scientist named Gyla Petro was spared, however, and she joined the group during the Tree of Life ceremony.
During the days leading up to one particular Life Day, a scurrilous smuggler by the name of "Shady" Pers stole all of the Orga root on Kashyyyk. In order to save the holiday, a Wookiee by the name of Tebeurra traveled off-world to find help. Accompanied by a protocol droid, and donning a long, red Life Day robe, Tebuerra talked with various people at the local spaceport. Curiosity got the better of one spacer, who approached Tebeurra to see what she was looking for. Communicating in native Shyriiwook through the translation capabilities of her protocol droid, Tebeurra explained to the spacer that the stolen Orga root needed to be recovered from "Shady" Pers before the Life Day holiday. She furthermore explained the importance of Orga root, as eating the root helped them complete the spiritual passage to the Tree of Life. The spacer dismissed the details, but agreed to help the distressed Wookiee. Just a few days later, the spacer monitored the warehouse where "Shady" Pers stored all his shipments. Breaking into a rear entrance, the spacer hoped to sneak in and recover all the boxes one at a time. Before they could grab the first crate, the spacer heard the metallic voice of a battle droid sounding an intruder alert. The droid began firing its blaster at the spacer, ruining their infiltration plans. As the spacer began to defend themselves, a loud voice rang throughout the facility. It was "Shady" Pers, announcing over the loudspeaker that the spacer would never be able to get past his guard droids. He urged the individual to surrender, but the spacer knew that was not a viable option. The only option was was to defeat his droid guards, and rescue the Orga root through sheer force. Each crate was guarded by one droid, forcing the spacer to defeat them all in order to recover the plants. The spacer ultimately succeeded in doing so, thus allowing the Life Day festivities to carry out unfettered.
At some point following the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, a member of Tebeurra's family named Kkatamik traveled to Vreni Island on Corellia, Varykino on Naboo, and Anchorhead on Tatooine to help spread word of the holiday. Kkatamik met with a number of spacers, and encouraged them to visit his family so that they could learn more about Life Day. Aside from Tebeurra, Kkatamik's family also included the likes of Oraalarri the Elder, Anarra, and Radrrl. The family was often forced to move around in order to escape persecution from the Empire. Regardless, during the Life Day festivities of that year, Kkatamik's family welcomed all individuals, regardless of their political beliefs. For Life Day, Oraalarri the Elder and his family of Wookiees traveled to the Forest Moon of Endor, Yavin 4, and Dathomir. On each of those worlds, they set up camp, and received a number of Life Day pilgrims referred to them by Kkatamik, including even those loyal to the Empire. Although they were wary of Imperials, and urged them to reconsider their allegiance, they still welcomed the opportunity to teach them about their sacred holiday traditions. The family also imparted to the pilgrims a number of gifts, including Life Day orbs and paintings, such as those depicting Kashyyyk, a matriarch, and a patriarch. The family also offered red Life Day robes to their fellow Wookiee cousins.
During the 411th day of his imprisonment at the Imperial Correctional Facility on Kessel, the Wookiee Gyylghrard helped a work gang of young Wookiees organize a secret Life Day celebration. They all agreed on the mid-day meal break as the safest and most logical time to hold the celebration, during which time prisoners went in shifts to eat food wafers in the dim blue light of the meal hall. With the help of a Jawa trustee who oversaw food storage, "Big Gyyl," as he was called by the children, found certain supplies. The quiet celebration began as soon as the slaves had settled in to eat. Lacking traditional Wookiee cuisine, they had to make do with the slave's food stores, which included a ration packet containing rehydrated Corellian ryshcate cake. Tucked beneath each piece of sweetbread was also a small candle and a simple, one-use sparkstick. After devouring their cakes, the lead female of the Wookiee gang softly growled the melody to the traditional hymn "A Day to Celebrate." The others soon joined in, and at the end of the song, the children would ignite their candles and let them burn for a single minute. The group begun the second iteration of the chorus, and on the word "dream," hundreds of sparksticks snapped in unison. This seemingly harmless act overloaded their electronic shackles, causing hundreds of chains to clank to the floor. In unison, the young slaves went berserk, and the rest joined in after a few seconds. To suppress the situation, the mess hall's compliment of ten stormtroopers leveled their blasters at the kids. In the end, the mob of young prisoners attempted to escape, and fought all the way to the launch bay before stormtroopers reportedly brought them down in a hail of recharged blaster fire. Warden Commander Dewt Kluskine had ordered the stormtroopers to shoot to kill. Gyylghrard, left injured during the Life Day massacre, vowed revenge for the warden's murderous act.
Despite being under Imperial occupation, the major Kashyyykian city of Kachirho hosted at least one major Life Day celebration following the Battle of Yavin. This celebration was held concurrently to other festivities in Theed and Coronet, capital cities of Naboo and Corellia respectively. Under the watchful eye of the Empire, Wookiee elders had also granted Queen Kylantha and the city of Theed a Tree of Life as a gesture of goodwill. The time-honored wroshyr trees could also be found in Kachirho and Coronet. Under the branches of these trees, the Bith Figrin D'an and his band the Modal Nodes played music. Figrin D'an and his band made it a regular tradition to go on tour during the Life Day festivities held during the Galactic Civil War. Later on, Doaba Guerfel played host to Life Day, as did Dearic on the Double World of Talus, and the town of Wayfar on Tatooine. At each of these cities, the band played their distinctive brand of jizz-like festive music under the festively decorated wroshyr trees set up for the occasion. The Human Saun Dann had a jovial spirit for the holiday, and aside from having looked over Chewbacca's family during the Life Day festivities of 1 ABY, he also participated in the festivities held at the three aforementioned cities. As a trader who sold goods back at his trading post on Kashyyyk, Saun Dann used Life Day as an opportunity to sell his festive wares in other parts of the galaxy, including soothing mugs of Hoth chocolate, Wookiee-ookiees, and holiday firework packages. Saun Dann had also ordered two cases of Life Day candy from the Naboo city of Keren to give to poor children. To his dismay, however, his shipment became delayed, and he worried something may have happened to it. To learn more, Saun Dann sent a spacer to meet with the Keren Shipping Master on Naboo. After an extensive investigation, which led to the Jawa Mountain Fortress on Tatooine, and then the nearby city of Mos Espa, it was discovered that a slovenly Imperial stormtrooper named TK-555 stole the candy. The spacer confronted the stormtrooper in the Mos Espa cantina, and although he was apologetic, and reluctantly agreed to donate 10,000 credits to the Mos Espa orphanage as reparations, the candy had already been eaten. Because the spacer threatened to report him to his superiors, the stormtrooper convinced a local Toydarian junk dealer by the name of Watto to sell a discounted Single Troop Aerial Platform to the spacer in exchange for their silence. In light of this situation, Dann looked for another gift to provide to the children out of his own supplies. Unfortunately for Dann, this would not be his last time as a victim of theft. During at least one other subsequent Life Day celebration, another shipment of the candy ended up falling into the hands of the same gluttonous stormtrooper.
By now, the Rebel Alliance had embraced Life Day as an opportunity to promote anti-Imperial sentiment through the use of propaganda. Under the direction of Wookiee freedom fighter Oolovv, Rebel supporters were tasked with the responsibility of decorating trees throughout the cities of Dearic, Doaba Guerfel, and Wayfar as a visible show of support to the local populaces. The Rebels also took it upon themselves to provide piles of gifts to the poor. Imperial spies, suspicious of this Rebel initiative, concluded that their efforts were actually a cover to smuggle weapons and Rebel propaganda in the gift boxes. In light of this questionable intelligence, the Trandoshan trader Sstrigge, working at the behest of the Empire, recruited loyal citizens to smash piles of presents spread throughout the streets of these three cities. Sstrigge encouraged the more zealous citizens to show off their allegiance to the Empire whilst destroying the alleged contraband. Confrontations between the Rebel merrymakers and Imperial saboteurs at times escalated into acts of public violence. However, the festivities at the three main target cities continued unfazed. Emperor Palpatine, leader of the Empire, refused to acknowledge the efforts made by the Rebel Alliance during Life Day. And while Hol't Deb Orah of the Corellian Times could not reach him for comment, Palpatine's publicist revealed that the Emperor harbored disgust for the holiday, which he considered "humbug."
- «The Life Day orb is a traditional part of our celebration. It shows a field of stars representing the afterlife. We beings of Kashyyyk believe that when we die that we walk off into the stars.»
In its deepest meaning, Life Day was a celebration of Kashyyyk's diverse ecosystem and the many forms of life it encompassed. It was also a time to remember family members who had died, and the young ones who continued to bring new life to a family. Wookiees greatly valued morality, courage, compassion and loyalty. A sacred and ancient Wookiee tradition was that of the honor family, which comprised of a Wookiee's closest friends and companions. These family members pledged a commitment to lay down their lives for one another, a concept known as a life debt. These extended Wookiee families would customarily gather to celebrate a day of joy and harmony, as promised by the Tree of Life. Wookiees would often brave adverse conditions to make it home for the holiday, as it was an important time for family bonding and thankfulness. However, it was at times impossible or impractical for Wookiees to make the journey home. Despite being traditionally celebrated on Kashyyyk, and usually at the Tree of Life, the enslavement of Wookiees under the reign of the Galactic Empire oftentimes forced the species to hold their holiday wherever they were. Life Day orbs, a Wookiee artifact, were a traditional symbol carried by Wookiees during the Life Day celebrations. The glass-like, shining orbs constituted one of the holiday's most ancient of traditions, as evidenced by its portrayal in a painting titled Ancient Life Day, in which it was seen being carried like a lantern. The orbs typically contained a field of stars representing the afterlife. The beings of Kashyyyk believed that when when they died, they would walk off into the stars. The globes had a variety of uses during Life Day festivities; small ones were colored and attached to the branches of ornamented trees, others were kept as memorabilia. Most importantly, Wookiee households displayed such orbs on their tables and gathered around them before joining a silent prayer ceremony. Over time, the tradition of putting up colorful decorations, like Life Day orbs, ornaments, buntings, and wreaths, had spread to other parts of the galaxy. For many generations, Life Day was celebrated every three local years, but as the holiday became more popular, other cultures began holding the celebration once a year. Despite its name, Life Day festivities could be celebrated over the course of several days. During the Galactic War, festivities were conducted over the course of approximately two weeks, whereas during the Galactic Civil War, festivities could be conducted over the course of at least a couple days.
- «Since you are one of our own, you have a choice. You may choose a traditional Life Day robe that may only be worn by Wookiees or you may receive another gift.»
- ―Oraalarri the Elder, to a fellow Wookiee[src]
Another ancient tradition was that of the Life Day robe, red garments worn during the ceremonies. Although they were only intended to be worn by Wookiees, the robes were at times adopted by by other species. However, Life Day robes were not the only type of clothing worn during the celebrations. Life Day Jackets and Holiday Jackets were warm, festive jackets worn in celebration of the holiday. Kashyyyk Elite Hunter Bandoliers were also available during Life Day, a type of bandolier usually worn by the most prominent Wookiee hunters of Kashyyyk. During the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi wore a distinctive white and red robe, black boots, white gloves, and a large black belt with a brass-colored buckle. Complimenting his look was a drooping, festive hat, white and red in color, and conical in appearance. Obi-Wan's choice of festive clothing was available to other Republic citizens during the holiday. Even clone troopers wore celebratory suits of armor during the holiday, such as the colorful Nutcracker Clone Troopers and brightly lit Life Day Clone Troopers. Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes donned festive wear during Life Day, including long red holiday jackets, and Wookiee Life Day vendors wore red and white chef's aprons. Wookiee Life Day Necklaces were a type of necklace worn in honor of the holiday. On the other hand, astromech droids, protocol droids and MSE-series droids could also be donned with an overlay of festive lights. Mouse droids could also be affixed with a wind-key and tail, to give it the appearance of a toy mouse.
- "I want to wish you a happy Wookiee Life Day!"
Wookiees had a primitive patriarchy with a complicated lineage structure, initiation rites, and a religion that rejected materialism. However, as the holiday spread throughout the galaxy to other species and cultures, the holiday took on a greater focus on consumerism, which included the purchase and exchange of gifts. By the end of the Cold War, the so-called Master of Ceremonies would bestow a number of extravagant vehicles and other goods to citizens in exchange for gift parcels. The mysterious Gree Cyan Sphere was one such speeder. Others had more of a Life Day-themed appearance, like the Sleigh I, a speeder bike which would jingle as it traveled across the ground. The Czerka Corporation had also produced the LD-1 Celebrator, yet another hoverbike which was decked with bright, festive lights. The Podracer-like Vectron J0-1Y and the Snowstorm Assault Speeder were additional festively-themed repulsorcraft vehicles, the latter of which was armed with a cannon capable of firing snowballs. In fact, the act of throwing snowballs at bystanders became something of a popular Life Day tradition itself. Life Day snowball bombs were a specific type of snowball which celebrants would throw at one another. Despite their name, snowball bombs were in fact completely harmless. Around the Coruscant Senate Building, Dromund Kaas city Monument to Lord Ergast, and Nar Shaddaa Promenade, a number of Hollis-series steward droids were used as targets by celebrants during snowball fights. At times, the Life Day snowball bombs contained miniature parcels, which could be used as a form of currency in exchange for other gifts. Life Day snowball cannons were toy weapons which could also be utilized in a similar fashion on unsuspecting targets, covering them with a layer of gleaming snowflakes. Life Day Tinsel Bombs were another harmless toy, which when thrown at others, would explode in a shower of colorful glitter. The launching of fireworks became yet another holiday tradition. Some fireworks, when ignited, produced patterns resembling Life Day Trees. Burning candles ritualistically was also another component of the holiday.
Despite having originated on Kashyyyk, a tropical world, snow and other winter-like elements became a symbolic aspect of the holiday. For instance, the Life Day festivities in Dearic and Doaba Guerfel were conducted during times of considerable snowfall. Despite its hot and arid climate, even the town of Wayfar was subject to snowfall during its Life Day festivities, whether through natural or artificial means. Indeed, slowblowers were a type of machine, which when placed in homes, would blow snow to create a frost-filled Life Day experience. Wall freezer units were similarly used to create winter-like conditions in an abode. Snow makers were also affixed to astromech droids by the time of the Clone Wars, allowing them to emanate a shower of snow as they traveled about. Stalactite and icicle ceiling lights, icicle mounds, and wampa-skin rugs also made for fashionable Life Day decor. Indeed, creatures like wampas and tauntauns became emblematic symbols of the holiday. Despite being used as rugs, wampas and their cubs became cherished pets during Life Day. Wampa suit costumes were also made available. On the other hand, tauntaun mounts were sometimes affixed with glowing red noses, antlers, and dressed festively for the occasion, all the way from the end of the Cold War to the days of the Clone Wars. Icetromper mounts were also dressed with festive lights, and decked with bags of Life Day gift boxes. Kowakian monkey-lizards were available as Life Day pets, and dressed up in miniature boots and gloves, and bow-ties colored in either green or red. Droids made for acceptable Life Day companions as well. Copero Jubilee Miniprobes were a type of probe droid, affixed with kites, that were sold on Life Day during the time of the Old Republic. Gathering around the fireplace was evidently another tradition, as Life Day Fireplaces, Kashyyykian fireplaces, and rustic fireplaces were fixtures available for use during the holiday. In addition, Life Day Incense Burners were a specific type of incense device suited for the ocassion. Indeed, many other pieces of furniture were centered around the holiday, like Life Day Lamps, Wookiee Home Banner Kits, Life Day Pedestals, potted trees, and snowglobes. Some Life Day snowglobes depicted elements from various worlds, like Umbara, Ossus, Nathema, and Copero. Others contained a variety of different droid ecosamples. The Model Umbaran Train was a type of model train set inspired by the design of a train found on the planet Umbara. The center of the train set was decorated with a holographic Life Day Tree. During the Galactic Civil War, propaganda tokens issued out by both the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire could be exchanged for many different types of Life Day goods. Commercialization of the holiday was evident during an Action Tidings Special Report news broadcast, in which Serv-O-Droid, Inc. sponsored an advertisement featuring an ERL-21 transcribot, used to transcribe the news footage. The advertisement featured a tagline which enticed viewers with free restraining bolts, so long as they made an order before Life Day.
Music and entertainmentEdit
Even though Wookiees rejected materialism, they nevertheless came to embrace the exchange of presents as a central ritual and a symbol of love. Chewbacca's family, for instance, was known to receive gifts during the holiday. Chewbacca's son, Lumpawaroo, accepted from Saun Dann a mini-transmitter, while Attichitcuk, Chewie's father, accepted a sensual holographic cassette of Mermeia, a virtual performer. Mind evaporators, also known as proton chairs, were a type of virtual reality device which could be used as entertainment. In Attichitcuk's case, the proton chair was used to enjoy the cassette given to him by Saun Dann. Entertainment such as this was not an uncommon indulgence during Life Day. Lumpawaroo, or Lumpy as he was also called, treated himself to a tabletop performance of holographic tumblers. Holo-entertainment tables such as these, as well as proton chairs, were readily available as gifts during Life Day. So too were pocket-sized aquariums, a type of novelty fish tank. When Imperial troops raided Chewbacca's home in search of suspected Rebel activity, Lumpy partook in other forms of entertainment, like watching a Rebel Alliance cartoon on the screen of his video book. While an Imperial commander and two stormtroopers, including B4711, searched the house for evidence, Saun Dann encouraged the technician of the group to take a brief break to watch a holovid performance of a band playing a song called "Light the Sky on Fire." Singing, playing and listening to music such as this was one of Life Day's most important traditions. In fact, Wookiees were known to play tree-drum music on the holiday as far back as 1,500,000 BBY. Dancing was also a notable aspect. Sliced Neural Attunement Amplifiers were a type of device available on Life Day which, when used, compelled those in the immediate vicinity to break out in dance. Following the Battle of Yavin, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes played a number of different musical pieces during Life Day, including three types of jazzy songs, and a more whimsical piece. Although these Life Day songs were cheerful or upbeat, the band was also known to play a somewhat ominous-sounding song during the holiday, and even a Mandalorian war chant known as Dha Werda Verda. On the other hand, the band was also known to play a celebratory Ewok song during the holiday, and "Ton'yy Rho's Uglehop," a song that was once played at the Vapor Room drinking establishment on Cloud City. "Symponik Nabooalla," a symponik composed by the Gungan female Augara Jowil in the year 32 BBY, also became associated with the holiday. More importantly, Life Day had its emblematic song, known in Basic as "A Day to Celebrate" (otherwise referred to as the "Tree of Life"), which put emphasis on peace, harmony and freedom.
Emphasis on the artsEdit
Music was not the only form of artistic expression emphasized during Life Day. Many paintings and sculptures were devoted to the holiday. Oraalarri's family, for instance, bestowed a number of paintings to participating celebrants, including Life Day Kashyyyk, Life Day Matriarch, and Life Day Patriarch, which portrayed important aspects of Wookiee culture. Other paintings were packaged as gifts, like Pilgrimage, which depicted two Wookiee warriors on Kashyyyk directing a Human female of the Rebel Alliance. Two other paintings were packaged in a similar manner, including Triumph, which depicted a Wookiee silhouette throwing his arms into the air in a triumphant gesture, and Memories Past, which depicted a profile view of a Wookiee. Many Life Day paintings emphasized the importance of family, and highlighted many of the holiday's customs. One such painting depicted a Wookiee family in a warm embrace, while another depicted two young Wookiees presenting a Life Day orb to one another. Another painting depicted a porture of a proud looking male Wookiee, while another depicted a Wookiee wearing a red Life Day robe. Some paintings focused on locations important to the Wookiees, like one painting which depicted a tree settlement on Kashyyyk during nighttime. The painting titled Ancient Life Day depicted an aged Wookiee wearing a hooded, red Life Day robe, whilst holding a staff in one hand, and a Life Day orb in another. The painting Family Bonds depicted a family portrait of Chewbacca's family, wearing red Life Day robes, and carrying Life Day orbs in front of a starry backdrop. Four paintings were also commissioned to depict the four great Wookiee values, Morality, Courage, Compassion, and Loyalty. Propagandistic elements were evident in at least one Life Day painting, which depicted Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader crushing a present, while ominously observing a cheerful celebration of Wookiees holding hands around a Life Day Tree. Certain art sculptures were also made as gifts, including a spike-like sculpture, a swan-like sculpture, and a flame-like sculpture. Wookiee Hero Figurines were made as gifts, and Wookiee Ceremonial Shields and Wookiee Rifle Displays of X1 carbines could also be displayed as a form of Wookiee Life Day art.
Indulging in treatsEdit
- "Now then… what's that I smell? Could it be some of those famous Wookiee-ookiees?"
- ―Saun Dann
Feasting on meals and consuming treats was an important aspect of Life Day. During the Life Day of 1 ABY, Chewbacca's wife, Mallatobuck, prepared a bowl of Wookiee-ookiees, a crunchy Wookiee treat. Her son Lumpy attempted to sneak a cookie before dinner, but Malla caught him, and asked him to take out the day's garbage. Later on, Malla prepared dinner for the night's feast. She turned on a viewscreen to view a cooking program with Gormaanda, a four-armed chef. Gormaanda gave instructions on how to prepare Bantha Surprise, a traditional Life Day dish. However, Malla could not keep up with Gormaanda's instructions, and switched off the viewscreen in frustration. The traditional beverage of Hoth chocolate was a type of hot chocolate made from tauntaun milk, and Life Day candy was also popular during the holiday. Saun Dann had ordered several cases of the candy to give to needy children, only for it to be stolen and eaten by the stormtrooper TK-555 on at least two separate ocassions. In the absense of traditional cuisine, Wookiee's sometimes had to improvise their meals. For instance, during their imprisonment, Gyylghrard and his fellow Wookiee slaves had to make do with a ration packet containing rehydrated Corellian ryshcate cake. Some Life Day food items were displayed as decorations, such as Decorative Varactyl Egg Nog and Decorative Fruitcake. An especially important part of the Life Day celebration consisted of a spiritual passage; by chewing roots of the Orga plant, the Wookiees would journey in spirit form and join the essence of the Tree of Life. According to the legends, that most ancient tree had been the starting point of the Wookiee civilization. Were the Orga roots lacking, the Wookiee elders were entitled to cancel the holiday.
Rejection by the dark sideEdit
While the holiday was largely embraced by both the Galactic Republic and the subsequent Alliance to Restore the Republic, the central themes of Life Day oftentimes ran antithetical to the ideals of regimes loyal to the Sith. The old Sith Empire, for instance, considered Life Day to be a disgraceful menace of a holiday which encouraged activities unbecoming of an Imperial citizen, such as dancing in inclement weather, singing unpatriotic carols, and engaging in nonviolent physical contact with Wookiees. The Sith Empire similarly disapproved of snowball fights, as their Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit expressed concerns that some of the snowball bombs were used to conceal small, suspicious packages. As such, citizens were urged to deliver any suspicious parcels to Imperial EOD for processing and disposal. The Sith Empire also disapproved of the Sleigh I speeder design, for far exceeding the guidelines for maximum "cheerful" ornamentation. Imperial EOD furthermore feared that the parcels and other various Life Day paraphernalia strapped to the rear of the vehicle contained explosive devices. The later Galactic Empire was a largely xenophobic regime which similarly treated Wookiees as second-class citizens, and enslaved them for various Imperial Military projects. Due in part to their enslavement, Wookiees were oftentimes prevented from celebrating the holiday normally. Indeed, the Empire exhibited little respect for the holiday and its customs. During the Life Day of 1 ABY, the Galactic Empire declared martial law and blockaded Kashyyyk, which further impeded holiday celebrations on the world. They had also dispatched Imperial agents to violently raid Chewbacca's home in search of suspected Rebel activity, going so far as to completely ransack Lumpy's room, and behead his stuffed bantha toy. Imperial citizens were encouraged to disrupt holiday activities by smashing gift boxes suspected to contain Rebel contraband, and even Galactic Emperor Palpatine personally expressed contempt for the holiday. Nevertheless, Life Day had long since become a popular and mainstream holiday, and both the old Sith Empire and later Galactic Empire proved unwilling to supress celebratory activities entirely. Despite official condemnation of the holiday, the Sith Empire reluctantly allowed the Master of Ceremonies and his fellow revelers to peddle gifts and carry out celebrations aboard the Vaiken Spacedock. They also allowed for the launching of celebratory fireworks, under the condition that the user assumed sole responsibility for any and all scorching damage pursuant to ignition. Likewise, despite Palpatine's displeasure with the holiday, the Galactic Empire largely allowed Life Day festivities to continue. Under the watchful eye of the Empire, Queen Kylantha of Naboo was allowed to accept a Tree of Life and conduct celebrations in Theed. Similar celebrations were allowed to be carried out peacefully in other cities, like Coronet and Kachirho. Aside from the Imperial governments, the Confederacy of Independent Systems also harbored at least some measure of disdain for the holiday, as exemplified by General Grievous' dastardly attempt to steal Life Day gifts destined for the Talz.
Useage of the term for birthdaysEdit
- "HAPPY LIFE DAY, BOBRINGI MAFUSA. YOU'RE ONE FINE MON CALAMARI"
- ―An electronic banner at Bobringi Mafusa's birthday party
The generalized term "lifeday" or "life day" was at times used to refer to one's birthday. Such was the case around 11 months ABY, when the Mon Calamari Bobringi Mafusa celebrated his life day aboard the luxury star cruiser Star of Empire. During the occasion, he was served special Mon Calamari crab-stuffed creampuffs. In 13 ABY, Wedge Antilles of the New Republic told Qwi Xux to send him "lifeday presents," seemingly referring to his birthday, rather than the Wookiee holiday.
Behind the scenesEdit
Wookiee Life Day made its first appearance in the television film The Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired on November 17, 1978. The main storyline of the film, based on a story by George Lucas, transpires on the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk. Chewbacca and Han Solo visit the planet to celebrate the Wookiee holiday Life Day with his family, which includes his wife Malla, his son Lumpy, and his father Itchy. As Chewbacca and Han are known Rebel agents, they are pursued by the Galactic Empire, who in the process invade Chewbacca's household. The plot is strung together by a series of musical numbers, celebrity appearances, and other variety-show acts, including songs and comedy routines by such 1970s celebrities as Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur. The special introduced many of the key Life Day concepts that were later expanded upon in other sources. The exchange of gifts, the preparing of treats and feasts, playing and listening to music, and sharing time with family were all depicted in the television special as being key components of the Wookiee holiday. So too were other aspects, like burning candles ritualistically, carrying Life Day orbs, and having Wookiees don red robes and join into groups to observe the holiday at the Tree of Life. The red Life Day robes worn by the Wookiees at the end of the special were actually an improvised solution to cover up the lack of Wookiee costumes beyond the masks (which were Don Post brand) due to the special by that point going massively over budget.
In 1979, the Los Angeles Times Syndicate distributed a Star Wars newspaper comic strip written by Russ Manning. The comic strip, retroactively titled The Kashyyyk Depths, depicts a story in which Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 return to Kashyyyk for another Life Day celebration. The comic strip introduced other aspects of the holiday, such as the importance of Orga root, and the spiritual and historical significance of the Tree of Life. Life Day is also featured in Kessel: Hell in Space, written by Cory J. Herndon in May 2003. The Planet Hoppers article, published by Wizards of the Coast, contains a story about a Wookiee named Gyylghrard who attempts to celebrate Life Day whilst in a prison on Kessel.
Portrayal in online video gamesEdit
Star Wars GalaxiesEdit
The holiday has been explored in much greater detail as a recurring celebratory event in a number of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, starting with the 2003 video game Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, developed by Sony Online Entertainment and published by LucasArts. Life Day was first officially recognized as an in-game holiday by the developers of Star Wars Galaxies in a December 19, 2003 feature titled "Happy Holidays 2003." In this feature, the developers encouraged players to celebrate Life Day during the months of December and early January. For their part, the developers began dropping numerous Wookiee Life Day orbs and robes in the city halls of player cities that were registered on the planetary map. The developers intended for the mayors of such cities to share the items with their residents. In addition to letting mayors hand out the items, the developers began attending various live events, and handed out orbs to players and merchants to give away or sell. They continued to hand out orbs and robes throughout the months of December and into January, and ensured that the items did not become exceedingly rare. In addition to the orbs and robes, players could also receive three different types of art sculptures. The holiday made a return with the release of Publish 11.5 on December 14, 2004. This time, the celebration centered around a quest in which players could speak to a Wookiee named Kkatamik, visit his family on either Dathomir, Endor, or Yavin 4, and learn more about the holiday's customs. During the celebratory event, players could receive a gift from the Wookiee elder Oraalarri, including a Life Day orb, or one of three new house paintings. Wookiee players also had the option to choose to receive a Life Day robe. The event ended on January 13, 2005 with the release of Publish 12. On December 13 of that year, Life Day made a return with the release of Publish 26. This time, the developers simply added two gift boxes to the player's inventory. One gift could be opened by the player, while the other had to be shared with a friend. Opening the gift box would temporarily spawn a large, festive wroshyr tree to the tune of the "Symponik Nabooalla." Gifts included three new types of paintings, a Wookiee Hero Figurine, a Wookiee Rifle Display, a Wookiee Ceremonial Shield, and a Miniature Wroshyr Tree. On December 22, the developers also added a new a level-up item called "An Energetic Lifeday Orb." This item could be looted from various NPCs and creatures, and used in order to grant the player an additional experience level. On January 4, 2006, the celebrations were concluded as part of Publish 26.6, and the gift boxes and Life Day orbs could no longer be obtained. Life Day was once again brought back as part of Chapter 4.2: "Armed and Ready for Action!" on December 8 of that year. The activities were not unlike the previous year's. Players once again received two gift boxes, one for themselves, the other for a friend, and opening the box spawned a temporary wroshry tree to celebratory music. However, different items were included as gifts, including five new paintings, a Life Day Bunting, Life Day Incense Burner, Life Day Wreath, and Miniature Life Day Tree.
Life Day returned on December 12, 2007, albeit with a considerable number of changes. This time, large wroshyr trees were set up in the cities of Theed, Kachirho, and Coronet. By interacting with one of the trees, players would receive two gift boxes, one for themselves, and another for a friend, much like during the previous two Life Day events. By opening the gift box intended for oneself, players would receive an Ancient Life Day painting and a Hanging Life Day Orb. The gift box given to a friend would contain either one of four items, a Kachirho Wall Cornucopia, Life Day Lamp, Life Day Necklace, or Wookiee Home Banner Kit. As an added component of the 2007 Life Day event, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes played festive music under the branches of the Trees of Life. Songs played by the band included three real world cover pieces, including "Christmas Green," "Here We Come A-Wassailing," and "Swingalong Santa." Under the wroshyr trees, players could also interact with Wookiee Life Day vendors to purchase a unique selection of items, including special Holiday Fireworks Packages, Hoth Chocolate, and Wookiee-ookies. Sliced Neural Attunement Amplifiers were also available, which when used, would force nearby players to begin dancing. In preparation for the game's 2008 celebrations, some of the developers watched The Star Wars Holiday Special in its entirety, and drew a great deal of inspiration from it. The festivities, which were scheduled to run from December 16, 2008 until January 12, 2009, saw the addition of new content. However, the developers strived not to remove features seen during previous events. Dearic, Doaba Guerfel, and Wayfar were this time designated as the celebratory cities, and the Art and Programming Departments added snowfall to them to create a more festive theme. Each city was again installed with a large wroshyr tree, beneath which Figrin D'an and his band played the aforementioned real world Christmas songs. Players could again interact with the trees to receive two gift boxes, one for themselves, another for a friend. Interacting with the tree would also award players with a badge titled "Celebrant of Life." Possible gift items included a painting titled Family Bonds, as well as a Holo-Entertainment Table, Proton Chair, and Pocket Aquarium, which were directly inspired by The Star Wars Holiday Special. These same items could also be purchased by Imperial players from a Trandoshan trader NPC named Sstrigge, and by Rebel players from a Wookiee freedom fighter NPC named Oolovv, by spending propaganda tokens, a type of token which could be earned through participation in Life Day minigames. For Rebel players, the minigame entailed decorating Life Day Trees around the three participating cities, whereas Imperial players were tasked with smashing presents around the three same cities. The latter was directly inspired by a scene in the Holiday Special of Imperial troops smashing Lumpy's presents. Neutrally-aligned players could choose to participate in either task. Players had the option of whether or not to decorate and destroy competitively or casually. If the casual option was chosen, players were allowed to finish 10 objectives for the day. If competitive, players had 30 minutes to finish as many objectives as they could. A scoreboard of the daily top three competitive players was also implemented. For each tree decorated, or present destroyed, the player would receive 5 propaganda tokens. However, this could be increased to 15 if the player declared themselves Special Forces, therefore opening them up to attack from other players. Additional items which could be purchased with propaganda tokens included a Kowakian Cage, which if placed in a home, would allow for a festively dressed Kowakian monkey-lizard to roam about the room. Tokens could also be used to purchase Kashyyyk Elite Hunter Bandoliers, Life Day Decorated Young Wroshyr Trees, undecorated Young Wroshyr Trees, Life Day Pile of Presents, and Bantha Surprise Recipes. Imperial players could also purchase Blackmail Packages, while Rebel players could purchase Lists of Favors. Using those items would grant the player 50 GCW points. Saun Dann was included as a non-player character for the event, and he supplanted the role of the previous year's Wookiee Life Day vendors by selling goods like the Holiday Fireworks Packages, Hoth Chocolate, and Wookiee-ookies (however, the Sliced Neural Attunement Amplifiers were removed). Saun Dann would also offer players a special Life Day quest, the plot of which centered around the theft of candy by an overweight stormtrooper named TK-555. By completing the quest, players had the opportunity to receive a STAP-1 speeder as a transactional reward from Watto.
When Life Day was deactivated as part of Game Update 6 on January 12, Saun Dann was removed, but the other quest NPCs remained for a short time longer to allow players more time to complete the quest. Life Day was again reactivated on December 15, 2009 as part of Hotfix 14.8. The 2009 celebrations were virtually identical to 2008's, albeit with some minor changes. For instance, Saun Dann's quest, which was made repeatable, now had dialogue which referenced the fact that his candy had already been stolen before. Upon completing the quest, players also now had the choice of being awarded with either a Decorative Fruitcake, or Decorative Varactyl Egg Nog. Furthermore, instead of the three real world Christmas songs played during the previous two celebrations, Figrin D'an and his band now played four different Star Wars songs, including Dha Werda Verda, originally composed by Jesse Harlin as part of the soundtrack for the 2005 video game, Star Wars: Republic Commando. The band also played "Juno Eclipse's theme," and "PROXY and the Skyhook," two songs composed by Mark Griskey as part of the soundtrack for the 2008 video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. The band also played "Ton'yy Rho's Uglehop," yet another song originally composed for The Force Unleashed, this time by Jesse Harlin, and "Victory Celebration," a theme composed by John Williams for the Special Edition of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Upon logging in for the holiday, players freely received a new decorative item called the Life Day 2009 Ornament. Interacting with the wroshyr tree would also award a new badge, titled "Life Day Reveler." Likewise, the gift boxes from the tree contained new items, including the Life Day 2009 Painting, a Small Hanging Lamp, a Large Hanging Lamp, and a Kashyyykian Fireplace. In addition to the gift box items, Sstrigge and Oolovv offered items that were not seen during previous celebrations, such as Decorative Wookiee-ookies, Decorative Hoth Chocolate, Life Day Jackets, Holiday Jackets, Rustic Fireplaces, Life Day Kowakian Monkey-lizard Costume Instructions, and Holiday Holoshrouds. The event concluded on January 12, 2010 as part of Hotfix 14.10. Life Day was brought back again on December 14, 2010 as part of Game Update 19. Again, few changes were made. Interacting with one of the wroshyr trees would award a new badge, titled "Life Day Merrymaker." The gift box opened for onself would give the player two newly introduced items, including a Life Day Ornament of an R2 unit resembling R2-D2, and a Life Day Decoration Device. The Decoration Device allowed players to flag storyteller props as Wookiee Life Day Decorations. This meant that props used for player-made events would remain persistent for the duration of the holiday. Gift boxes given to a friend would contain one four new paintings, including Morality, Courage, Compassion, and Loyalty. As another change, Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes went back to playing the three real world songs, "Christmas Green," "Here We Come A-Wassailing," and "Swingalong Santa." The event's conclusion was planned for January 11, 2011, but it was in fact deactivated on January 10 as part of Hotfix 19.2. The game's ninth and final Life Day celebration was added as part of Game Update 22 on November 17, 2011, and concluded with the game's closure on December 15, 2011.
Life Day most likely was originally intended as a stand-in for the American holiday of Thanksgiving, as The Holiday Special was originally aired on November 17, the Friday before Thanksgiving that year. However, over time the term "holiday special" has caused most fans to misinterpret Life Day as a stand-in for Christmas, leading to games like Star Wars Galaxies and Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron to place Life Day on December 25. This is partly because after the initial U.S. airing in November, The Holiday Special aired in December in other countries, where Thanksgiving is not observed and Christmas is the closest equivalent.
The confusion has reached the point where George Lucas himself has referred to The Star Wars Holiday Special as the "Christmas special,", and many incorrectly remember Life Day as having Star Wars versions of Christmas carols (conflating The Holiday Special with Christmas in the Stars), Christmas decorations, and so on. Such elements have, in fact, been introduced after the special, mostly by Star Wars Galaxies, with wroshyr trees decorated to resemble Christmas trees, and Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes playing tunes to Christmas carols. Perhaps in response to this, stomptokyo.com created a false rumor about a sequel to The Holiday Special specifically designed to be a Christmas special, taking place on the snowy planet Hoth with Darth Tyranus dressed as Santa Claus.
The canonical date for the observance of Life Day has, nevertheless, been established in what sources there are as December 25, or the equivalent thereof in the Wookiee calendar. Whether this means that Life Day actually is intended to be understood as a solstice festival akin to Christmas as opposed to a harvest festival akin to Thanksgiving is unknown. Neither concept seems to hold much relevance on Kashyyyk, which appears to have temperate weather throughout the year (including on the Life Day we see in The Holiday Special) and where agriculture seems to be little practiced.
On a semi-related note, on the Star Wars Galaxies website hosted by Sony, Emperor Palpatine says "Bah, humbug!" with implied disgust for the holiday, a reference to Ebeneezer Scrooge regarding his views on Christmas in Charles Dickens' book A Christmas Carol. Similarly, the Sith Imperial edict in Star Wars: The Old Republic, GR-1NC4, was an indirect reference to the Grinch character from Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, who also had similar disdain for Christmas to the extent of initially going out of his way to steal it.
Pop culture referencesEdit
- Life Day was mentioned in The Venture Bros. episode "A Very Venture Christmas."
- In issue #121 of ToyFare magazine, the "Twisted Toyfare Theater" section is devoted exclusively to The Star Wars Holiday Special, with Lumpy questioning Chewbacca about Life Day, and Chewbacca responding that he should look it up on Wookieepedia.
- The ending of the song "Merry Christmas From Cell Block 2" by Matthew Ebel has his robot companion Proto wishing him a "Happy Life Day." This discrepancy was noticed by Ebel and was quickly corrected to "Merry Christmas."
- Near the end of the year—during the holidays—StarWars.com has often wished its readers a happy Life Day.
- Life Day was mentioned in The Big Bang Theory episode "The Proton Transmogrification."
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Strongholds (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures (In-game location: Main Hall)
- Death Troopers (Mentioned only)
- Rebel Dawn (Mentioned only)
- The Star Wars Holiday Special (First appearance)
- The Kashyyyk Depths (Appears in flashback(s))
- Galaxy of Fear: The Doomsday Ship (as a birthday)
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Star Wars Galaxies: Rage of the Wookiees
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – Champions of the Force (Happy Life Day promotional scenario)
- Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar (Mentioned only) (as lifeday)
- The New Jedi Order: Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand (Mentioned only)
- X-Wing: Mercy Kill (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Star Wars: The Padawan Menace
- Always count your clones before take-off (Mentioned only)
- The Return of Tag & Bink: Special Edition (Mentioned only)
- Menace of the Sith
- Star Wars: Tiny Death Star (Mentioned only) (as L-day)