Things That Make Me Go Hmmm... District 12 Traditions & Giving Thanks
Entering the holiday season makes me wonder what kind of holidays or traditions Katniss and Peeta would celebrate in Panem. Would each district have their own distinct holidays? Would there be any holidays celebrated in Panem? What kind of traditions would Katniss and Peeta start after the rebellion?
As we know, the annual Hunger Games is probably the biggest "tradition" for the Capitol citizens, and we sense that the mood in the Capitol is festive and holiday-like during the pre- and post-Games celebrations.
But it's not until we read Catching Fire that learn more in-depth of the traditions that might be specific to the districts or just District 12.
Some examples include (SPOILER ALERT):
District Holiday: A celebration in honor of the winning tribute. "A holiday for the whole district with free food and entertainers brought in from the Capitol" (p. 25 in Catching Fire*). Unfortunately for District 12, they only celebrated this holiday three times in 75 years.
Parcel Day: Once a month, the district of the winning tribute is rewarded with "food packages...delivered to every person in the district" (p. 25). Again, this day was rare in District 12.
The Victory Tour: An annual celebration in each district."Strategically placed almost midway between the annual Games, it is the Capitol's way of keeping the horror fresh and immediate. Not only are we in the districts forced to remember the iron grip of the Capitol's power each year, we are forced to celebrate it" (p. 4). We are to assume the Tour is about five or six months after the Games; the celebration in district 12 will fall during their Harvest Festival, which is always held on the last day of the Tour.
Harvest Festival (District 12): "We always celebrate the Harvest Festival on the final day of the Victory Tour, but usually it means a meal at home or with a few friends if you can afford it" (p. 86). The Harvest Festival sounds very similar to the American Thanksgiving and other harvest festivals from around the world. The time frame would be correct, as well, as it seems to occur in November. Even the decor is reminiscent of our own holiday celebration as houses are adorned with "bunches of brightly colored corn affixed to the front doors as decoration for the upcoming Harvest Festival" (p. 13).
Marriage Toasting (District 12): An informal ceremony for newlyweds in district 12. "...there's always a traditional song we sing as the new couple crosses the threshold of their home. And we have our own little ceremony, where they make their first fire, toast a bit of bread, and share it. Maybe it's old-fashioned, but no one really feels married in District 12 until after the toasting" (p. 249).
The Reading of the Card: Every 25 years, the Capitol requires all citizens of Panem to view the reading of the rules for the Quarter Quell (the 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversary celebrations of the Hunger Games). This occurs in late winter, just before the beginning of Spring.
The Reaping: An annual event held in all the districts to select one male and one female tribute for the annual Hunger Games, with the exception of Quarter Quell years when the reaping selection is altered for a new rule change. This is a one-day event and the start time for each district is staggered so viewers in the Capitol can watch all 12 of the district reaping ceremonies.
Hunger Games: The yearly televised competition of 24 youths (except in Quarter Quell years, when the participants may vary because of special rule changes) to fight to the death, with the winning tribute becoming the Victor. The Victor is awarded a new home in Victor's Village, money for food, assigned (or selects) a hobby in place of working the traditional district industry, and their district is awarded free food 12 times throughout the year on Parcel Day.
Quarter Quell: The 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversary Hunger Games. These Games are held every 25 years, calling "for a glorified version of the Games to make fresh the memory of those killed by the districts' rebellion" (p. 171).
Opening Ceremony: Following the Reaping, the Opening Ceremony occurs the first night the tributes are in the Capitol. They will kick off the tributes' training and interviews before they enter into the arena for the annual Hunger Games.
Tribute Interviews: Caesar Flickerman interviews each tribute on the eve of the Hunger Games each year. He also conducts an interview of the Victor on their last night in the Capitol before returning home after the Games.
I imagine after the most recent rebellion, the only two events that would still be celebrated would be the Marriage Toasting and perhaps the Harvest Festival.
What do you think?
• Would the citizens still celebrate the Harvest Festival?
• What other holidays might they celebrate?
• Would they mark the anniversary of the end of the war?
• How would they celebrate such an event?
Feel free to post your answers/comment below.
Also, you can comment on my post from last November, asking what Katniss and Peeta would be thankful for if they did celebrate Thanksgiving.
I believe they would have a lot to be thankful for, especially after what they have gone through.
And I'd like to take a moment to thank Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games Trilogy for giving us such a rich series, filled with so many topics, themes, conversation points, and lessons to be learned. Without you, Ms. Collins, this blog would not be possible. You have touched so many people around the world, and brought so many together through your literature. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
*All references to Catching Fire refer to the following edition: Catching Fire By Suzanne Collins - Scholastic Press (2009) - Hardback - 391 pages - ISBN 0439023491