'First Contact' Day: Why It's the Most Important 'Star Trek' Holiday

There are a lot of big days in the history of Star Trek. But the most enduring of all Trek holidays is also its most fictitious. On April 5, 2063, after a terrible war, the human race will be reunited when the alien race of the Vulcans come to tell how to live long and prosper. Thursday marks the 45th pre-anniversary of this future event. Here’s why it’s so cool.

In 1996, the film Star Trek: First Contact — directed by Jonathan “Number One” Frakes — depicted the hivemind known as the Borg, traveling back in time to prevent the United Federation of Planets from ever forming. Picard and company figures out they head back in time to “stop First Contact.” The whole movie makes you wonder why this event is so important, and when you find out, it’s a heartwarming revelation. Basically, “First Contact,” is two things. First, it’s the moment with humans can travel faster than light (cool!) Second, it represents the beginning of totally united Earth, which leads to a united galaxy.

Part of what makes people love Star Trek so much is that it asserts a far-future where human beings are doing great, and not fighting with each other anymore. Sure, there are some problems between humans on Trek, but war, poverty, and discrimination have been eliminated on the planet Earth. But how did that happen? What unified the human race? Turns out, finding out peaceful aliens existed was what humanity needed.

Now, in the evil Mirror Universe of Star Trek, First Contact obviously went totally differently. There, the inventor of warp drive — Zefram Cochrane — shot the visiting Vulcans rather than shaking their hands. Some people have worried that the Mirror Universe is too close to what might actually happen if we met aliens.

In the Star Trek mythos, the human race got lucky that the Vulcans were the first aliens they met. The Vulcans, just like us, also went through a terrible period of war on their planet. But, they too, learned how to all get along.

Other than traveling faster than light, beaming across space, and having heroes who carry intentionally non-lethal weapons, one of the best aspects of Star Trek is the Vulcan salutation “live long and prosper.” April 5, 2063 is when humanity will hopefully learn that phrase for the first time. But, luckily, thanks to Star Trek, we can share that sentiment with everyone we know, right now. -Star Trek: First Contact is available to stream on Amazon right now.

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