While Life Day was introduced in Star Wars with the 1978 movie The Star Wars Holiday Special, when that movie was no longer officially considered canon in 2014, Life Day seemed to have gone by the wayside. However, with the new book, Star Wars Life Day Treasury: Holiday Stories from a Galaxy Far, Far Away, hitting bookshelves in two days on September 7th, Life Day has returned to Star Wars canon.
Star Wars Life Day Treasury is composed of an introduction with eight short stories all centered around a mid-winter holiday on various planets. It is fairly similar to George Mann‘s previous two previous Star Wars books, Star Wars: Myths & Fables and Star Wars: Dark Legends, and is joined by Cavan Scott in composing these tales. Whereas Myths & Fables had a more upbeat aesthetic and Dark Legends had a darker feel, Life Day Treasury feels winter-warmery – fun, light stories that provide warmth in cold times.
The eight stories in this book mostly take place during the Imperial era or afterwards, although the first story takes place during the High Republic era:
- “A Coruscant Solstice”, takes place on Coruscant during the High Republic era, as Stellan Gios appears as the protagonist in this story, which takes place during the special time of Solstice Tide.
- “An Old Hope”, takes place on Tatooine during the Imperial era, focussing on a droid, although it would seem that Obi-Wan Kenobi may also be in the story, as well.
- “The Kindling”, is foregrounded during the Imperial era with two rebels, whereby one of them who is a Twi’lek, shares a story about Aaloth, a Twi’lek colony during a time of darkness and about warding it off with light.
- “The Kroolok”, is a neat story, as it involves Wicket and other Ewoks when they were children. Other familiar characters appear, such as Chief Chirpa, Teebo, and Shaman Logray. This story is like a campfire story about a monster.
- “The Song of Winter’s Heart”, focusses on two boys growing up on Alderaan and then subsequently encountering each other on opposing sides post-Death Star destruction, with a warming song between them.
- “The Spirit of Life Day”, takes place in the town of Odes Town on the planet of Monta, where there had been “one of the most harrowing massacres of the Clone Wars”, where, every Life Day, spirits and droid sounds haunt the townsfolk.
- “Reflection Day”, focusses on a young man going to Jedha for “Reflection Day”, even though, he himself, “was not a believer”. It’s a cute story.
- “The Tree of Life”, goes back to where Life Day started: on Kashyyyk, with Lumpy and Itchy, the stars of the Star Wars Holiday Special. This story (re-)canonizes these characters as the son & father of Chewbacca. This story focusses especially on Lumpy, whose full name is Lumpawarrump, although now, as he is older during the New Republic era, prefers to go by “Waroo”.
Although Chewbacca’s father was known simply as “Itchy” in the Holiday Special and Chewbacca’s son was known simply as “Lumpy”, they are identified with their full names in Star Wars Life Day Treasury: Attichitcuk and Lumpawarrump. While not appearing in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Attichitcuk was mentioned as being Chewbacca’s father in that movie. While Lumpawarrump was mentioned previously in The Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear!, he actually has appeared previously once before in Aftermath: Empire’s End. It should be noted that “Lumpy” no longer wants to be known with that nickname, and now he wants to be known as “Waroo”. Additionally, we see Chewbacca’s wife, “Malla” or, as she is known here, Mallatobuck (she previously appeared in A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy). Nevertheless, it is wonderful to see them coming together back where they all began: with Life Day on Kashyyyk.
While Life Day has not played much into Star Wars canon, it was mentioned early on in the first episode of The Mandalorian, and has appeared in a couple issues of Star Wars Adventures earlier this year. And there will be a focus on Life Day in the forthcoming Star Wars: Life Day.
Interestingly, the introduction provides a lot of context around Life Day, both on Kashyyyk and beyond:
For millenia, Life Day was a festival celebrated only by the Wookiees of the planet Kashyyyk. It was centered on the fabled Tree of Life, thought by the Wookiees to be the source of all life, both on their lush green world and in the stars beyond. At its heart, the festival celebrated the core truths of Wookiee civilization: family, love, and happiness. (vii)
While it began on Kashyyyk, it spread throughout the galaxy:
Many planets and cultures have midwinter celebrations of their own, born from ancient times when people huddled on the coldest of nights, dreaming of the warmth of days to come. On Coruscant there is Solstice Tide; on New Alderaan there is the Festival of Winter’s Heart. The Ewoks of the sanctuary moon of Endor tell tales of the White Fall, while the Mon Calamari celebrate the Turning of the Year’s Tide. (viii)
What characterizes these celebrations are some similarities:
Whatever the lore, the celebrations themselves bear startling similarities, Gifts are exchanged and loved ones dine together, sharing feasts both grand and humble. There are songs and there are games. Dwellings are decorated and traditions observed, but most of all there are stories shared with friends and relatives around crackling fires and flickering glow rods. (viii-ix)
In addition to the stories are accompanying drawings by Grant Griffin. The target demographic of this book is 8-12 year olds and what’s neat is that one need not be that familiar with the Star Wars universe to appreciate these stories. This book would serve ably as a winter holiday gift to a young fan.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided for review purposes.