The Hunger Games Wiki
"The reaping is a good opportunity for the Capitol to keep tabs on the population as well. Twelve- through eighteen-year-olds are herded into roped areas marked off by ages, the oldest in the front, the young ones, like Prim, toward the back."
Katniss Everdeen telling about the reaping[src]

The reaping stage in District 12.

A reaping was an annual event that took place in every district before each Hunger Games, where the tributes of the upcoming Games were chosen.

Each district's escort randomly chose the name of one male and one female tribute from two separate glass balls. Those picked are then the official tributes for the upcoming Games. Only children aged 12-18 were reaped.

The District 12 reapings for the 75th Hunger Games

Once of age, a potential tribute's name was entered into the reaping one time. The entries were cumulative, so when a possible tribute was thirteen, their name was added one more time. This continued until age 18, when a potential tribute's name was entered 7 times, or more if they apply for tesserae.

Each age group was contained in roped-off areas in the town square, waiting for someone to be picked. The reapings took place at different times in different districts, so that Capitol citizens could watch them all live on television. Many members of the Capitol often placed bets on who would be chosen. Unless someone was on their deathbed, they would be imprisoned for not attending their district's reaping.

The District 12 reaping took place in the center of town, in a place called the Justice Building[1] (Hall of Justice in the films)[2].


After the first rebellion in which every district was defeated by the Capitol, the Treaty of Treason was passed. On this treaty was the Hunger Games. The Games were held for two reasons: to entertain the wealthy citizens of the Capitol, and to keep the districts in line while showing that the Capitol had no mercy against them.[1] Some districts, such as District 1, were treated better in the Games because they were still loyal to the Capitol at a degree. While District 13 was the leader of the first (and second) rebellions, they were allowed to secede from Panem since they had the trump card of nuclear weapons.[3]

For earlier Games, the mayor of each district was the one in charge of reaping the male and the female tribute, instead of an escort sent from the Capitol. During the 10th Hunger Games, Mayor Lipp read Jessup and Lucy Gray's names in District 12.[4] It is unknown why or when the Capitol started sending escorts, but since some reapings were rigged so certain tributes would be picked, it may have been an attempt to make it harder for the mayors to use the reapings to their personal advantage.


Katniss volunteering for Prim.

If someone chose to, they could volunteer to take the place of a reaped tribute. This was often done by Career Tributes, who spent their lives training to compete in the Hunger Games. However, it was sometimes done for other reasons, such as when Katniss Everdeen volunteered to protect her reaped sister, Prim, but this was not done nearly as often as Careers volunteering.

The volunteering process was simple in most districts, especially the later numbered ones. However, in the Career districts (1, 2, and 4), volunteering was a more complicated process, since participating in the Games was seen as an honor. In Career districts, victors were highly respected and had great prestige.[5]


Effie Trinket standing next to one of the reaping balls.

Katniss' finger is pricked for blood in order to identify her.

Main article: Tessera

For the residents of various districts, any child between the ages of 12 through 18 could apply for tesserae. This supplied them with a year's supply of grain and oil. They could choose to do this for each of their family members as well. However, each tesserae they signed up for put another slip with their name in the reaping ball. It is also cumulative, so sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen had her name put in the glass ball twenty times. Gale Hawthorne, who had five family members including himself, had his name put in the glass ball forty-two times. The amount of tesserae taken was larger in Panem's poorer districts, such as District 12.[1]

Quarter Quells

Main article: Quarter Quell

Previous District 2 victors, Brutus and Enobaria are reaped for the 75th Hunger Games.

Every 25 years, the tributes were chosen in an alternate manner. The instructions for that year were specified inside a special envelope read by the president ahead of time. In the 25th Hunger Games, the districts voted on the tributes who got reaped; in the 50th, twice the amount of tributes were sent; in the 75th Hunger Games, the tributes were reaped from the existing pool of victors (done to force Katniss, District 12's only living female winner, back into the fray after her ploy to end the 74th).[6]


  • The reaping proceeds from the east coast to the west coast. In chronological order, the first four districts are 12, 8, 6, and 11. 
  • For the 10th Hunger Games, the reaping was scheduled on July 4th, which is Independence Day in the United States. It is suggested that this date is the same each year.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Hunger Games, Chapter 1
  2. The Hunger Games film
  3. Mockingjay, Chapter 2
  4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 2
  5. The Hunger Games, Chapter 2
  6. Catching Fire, Chapter 12
  7. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 1