In a season when many cultures around the world are celebrating their own new year, we might wonder what a New Year holiday is like in the Star Wars galaxy. Nothing marks a fresh start in that galaxy like Empire Day. For some, like Ezra Bridger, Empire Day might be a difficult reminder of things lost, but for others who are more supportive of Palpatine’s regime (especially on Coruscant), Empire Day might be a festive occasion. Imagining what Empire Day is like on Coruscant can be a good way to unlock our imaginations and journey to a galaxy far, far away…
The Imperial Alarm Clock
On the morning of Empire Day, you might be awoken at 6 a.m. by a loud ruckus, known to locals as the “Imperial Alarm Clock.” The program of censored news, government announcements, the latest statistics on factory production levels and patriotic music, would all be meant to inspire citizens and start their day on the correct footing. The transmission is delivered by the Imperial Press Corps at reverberating decibels, broadcast from megaphones on all street corners, in public squares and government-owned buildings, at both 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Today the broadcasts probably wouldn’t stop there though. On Empire Day there would be music — the same handful of Palpatine’s favorite patriotic hymns played over and over — all day long!
On your way out of the Sienar Systems Military Industrial Hotel, you might grab a cup of tea or Spiran caf, a bite of breakfast, and pick up your galactic passport at reception. The night before your passport would have been logged into the district police computers, with a record of your planet of origin, contact information, education, work, and health history, a list of family members, close friends, and business associates, your political allegiances during the Clone Wars, and then correlated with local police records as well as a list of known Rebel sympathizers — just as a routine public safety precaution.
Off to the Show
Red banners with black and white Imperial symbols would likely hang above every street. Propaganda posters might also hang from light posts along the main promenade. In shops you would also see framed photos of Emperor Palpatine in his prime, as he appeared when he was senator.
You might get in the mood for Empire Day by starting with a visit to “The State Museum of His Grace, The Honorable Emperor Sheeve Palpatine.” Mostly you might see benign items, like his office desk while serving as a senator, his senatorial robes, and maybe the shell of a deactivated droid assistant. But a few curiosities, like his old hairpiece, wash towels, worn-out dentures, a replica of his cane, and urns touting the curious remains of numerous childhood pets, would highlight the eccentric nature of the museum. Next door, the “Museum of Cowardly Rebel Crimes and Separatist Atrocities of the Clone Wars” would offer a more interesting but morbidly one-sided view of recent galactic history.
For the brighter side of patriotism, you might stop at the Imperial Youth Art Show, where you’d find drawings of the Emperor holding hands with children from a dozen worlds. You see Palpatine smiling, encircled by cute animals and pretty flowers. In one drawing, the Death Star fires rainbows at a large green planet encircled in pink hearts. There are paper mache stormtroopers, sock puppets of all the famous Moffs, popsicle stick sculptures of the Imperial Palace, Senate Building, and even the Arrth-Eno Prison Complex for Rebel Terrorists, decorated with candy.
Street Food Delights
As lunchtime approaches, you might decide to wander down one of Coruscant’s many food streets. Everyone on this planet is always on the go, so grabbing a bite of local fast-food for lunch is probably the norm. There are many options to choose from: vendors selling deep-friend pikobi nuggets; stands offering Geonosian carapace lice crunchies; cauldrons of steaming baby dianoga noodle soup with curly red tentacles; Hutt pudding cups (fried polystarch insta-muffins in savory gorg gravy); and even a few Felucian vendors selling syrupy-sweet fruit smoothies.
Leaving the food alley, you pass “Stann’s Second-Hand Second Hands: a budget boutique of prosthetics and accessories for survivors of Jedi crimes” and “Palpatine’s Potpourri: Imperial scents of patriotic bliss.” Then there is “Tarkin’s Secret Closet: a collection of formal Imperial evening wear, now available in both grey and dark grey.” You might decide to buy a few Empire Day souvenirs from an Aleena street hawker instead, and then drop them off at an Imperial Courier Service, sending them as gifts to your friends on Naboo and Endor.
Song and Dance
The Empire Day dance show might be entertaining. Senior cadets in uniform march across the stage, perhaps singing about the Empire’s victory at the Battle of Hoth and the Galactic peace and prosperity that followed, all while they wave DLT-19 heavy blaster rifles high in the air. This might be followed by the acclaimed “Freedom Ballad of a Gorg Monger,” by the Outer Rim Swokes Swokes Ballet Society. Then a moving Ithorian acapella choir performance of “Palpatine, Father of our Empire, Rearer of our Pupae.” The line-up might close with a dramatic poetry reading of “Mon Mothma Belongs on Mustafar, with Other Rebel Scum,” by the renowned Dug poet, Preigo, accompanied by a Xexto double-violinist.
The day might end with a parade along the promenade, as battalions of stormtroopers march to thundering plasma drums and electro-trumpets. Passing troop transports force spectators against the outer guardrails, even knocking a hapless protocol droid over the edge, tumbling hundreds of feet below.
It all ends with a speech from the top Moff, broadcast across the planet. As he praises the many personal sacrifices of the Emperor in his tireless effort to bring peace and prosperity to his citizens, fireworks erupt across the sky. Flashes of red and silver light illuminate the crowds and their faces from a thousand worlds.
With the pyrotechnics show now over and the smell of smoke hanging in the air, you might decide to head back to the hotel for dinner, and to consider whether you’ll spend another day on this capital world.
Author of DK’s Star Wars Rebels: Visual Guide: Epic Battles and co-author of Ultimate Star Wars and Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, follow Adam Bray on Twitter at @authoradambray.