Table of content    
  1. How Does The Hunger Games Wiki Explain The 3 Finger Salute?
  2. The Real Story Behind The Hunger Games' Unique Salute
  3. Does This Hunger Games Symbol Have Any Other Meanings?
  4. How Does It Play A Part In The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Spin-off

Hunger Games Wiki Answered: The Dark Reason District 12 Uses 3 Finger Salute Nobody Tells You

One of the most recognizable symbols that The Hunger Games Wiki mentioned is the mysterious 3 finger salute common to District 12. What’s the deal about this signature gesture and why does it have a dark secret behind it? Let’s find out.


How Does The Hunger Games Wiki Explain The 3 Finger Salute?

Source: Google Image

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According to The Hunger Games Wiki, the first time the 3 finger salute appears in the series is when Katniss gives herself up to the 74th Hunger Games. Initially, she isn’t chosen as a tribute for District 12 but Prim is. While the result shocks Katniss, she doesn’t waste a second to sacrifice herself to save her little sister’s life.

As Katniss is being taken away by the Capitol’s troops to join the game, she is astonished to find out that everyone in District 12 is making a heartfelt goodbye to her. Though this is also the only time the 3-finger salute’s meaning is explained in the story, it’s far from the last time it appears.

How Does The Hunger Games Wiki Explain The 3 Finger Salute? Source: Google Image

Later on, when Katniss fails to save Rue, a young tribute from District 11, she also raises her hand with this salute to say the final goodbye. As a response to her kind act, the people of District 11 started adopting the gesture and using it as a sign of rebellion.

As the story evolves, so does this symbol. Over time, people from District 12 and other Districts started to adopt it as a way to praise Katniss as their Mockingjay and show solidarity. Coming to the end of the series, the gesture easily becomes the symbol of the revolution.

Making it does not only mean thanks, admiration, and good-bye but also means We are for you, we are in this together, and F the Capitol, especially after the old man who initiated the gesture to Katniss is executed. An important note should be highlighted here: In District 12, they don’t usually say something so touching. Before Katniss, they just accept fate, but Katniss’ sacrifice is out of the blue.

They don’t clap, since it’s nothing to celebrate about. The way the gesture evolves highlights a great character development for Katniss and the people of Panem, as finally, they have something to hold onto, a reason and a shared value.


The Real Story Behind The Hunger Games' Unique Salute

The Real Story Behind The Hunger Games' Unique Salute Source: Google Image

Gestures of shared value and unity are nothing new in real life. In fact, cultures have used them thousands of years preceding what was written in The Hunger Games.

Author Suzanne Collins never explicitly confirmed what she used as the inspiration for the gesture, but once said that The Hunger Games was inspired by Roman gladiators.

In Roman culture, hand gestures were a big deal and before their salute was stained by another institution in history, the act of raising your extended hand with palm facing down with fingers touching was meant to be used by Roman gladiators to pay a tribute to the emperor before their fight, as a way to say “I, who is all ready to die, salute you”.

Real Story Behind The Hunger Games Source: Google Image

Although some might find this ancient gesture’s similarity to the 3 finger salute shows that they are related, there are apparent differences questioning this theory.

First, although the right hand was considered a symbol of pledging trust, friendship, or loyalty, the people of Panem use their left hand for the gesture. Furthermore, before raising their hand outwards, they kiss it as a sign of compassion.

While the origin of the 3 finger salute is still not clear as per The Hunger Games Wiki, what surprises many people is that this symbol has made its way to the real world, reaching beyond its cultural value and starting to spread in the political field.


Does This Hunger Games Symbol Have Any Other Meanings?

The Hunger Games Wiki Symbol Source: Google Image

Reaching beyond the fictional world of The Hunger Games, the 3 finger salute likely combines multiple levels of hidden meaning in our modern culture. The first part of it resembles a blown kiss, which is often used as a means to express subtle love through distance (hence “goodbye to someone you love”). It also means you will be missed, and my blessings are with you, amongst other meanings.

The second part of this hand gesture features a hand with 3 extended middle fingers. Some Redditors have pointed out its similarity to the Boy Scouts gesture. 3 fingers here stand for 3 promises. In his book, Scouting for Boys, Robert Baden-Powell chose the 3 finger salute for Scouts to represent the 3 pillars of the Scout Promise: Honour God and Country. Help Others. Obey the Scout Law.

Finally, let’s talk about the symbolism of the left hand. While the right hand is often associated with dominance, trust, and loyalty, the left hand is closer to the heart and in many cultures symbolizes love, empathy, and bonding. 

Also, often being the weaker side for most people, the left hand is also connected to the feminine energy that we see in Katniss. However, unlike the right hand, the left hand sometimes also resembles negative aspects of life such as loss, unluck, or risk. This explains why it was originally used to pay tribute to the dead and at funerals.


How Does It Play A Part In The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Spin-off

Songbirds Source: Google Image

While we’re enjoying the threaded stories of The Hunger Games’ original series, a new, exciting spin-off is coming its way this winter. According to The Hunger Games Wiki, The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes is set to be released in November, featuring Rachel Ziegler’s Lucy Gray as a tribute from District 12, preceding Katniss.

The story also revolves around a young President Snow and his relationship with Ziegler’s character. Since Lucy shares many common grounds with Katniss, we can look forward to seeing lots of hidden messages and even the origin of this hand gesture in The Hunger Games universe.

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