The Hunger Games Wiki

District 11 citizens use the sign to salute to Katniss.

"It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means goodbye to someone you love."
Katniss Everdeen[src]

The three-finger salute is used by District 12 residents as a gesture of admiration, gratitude, and saying goodbye to someone they love.[1]

The sign is made by pressing the three middle fingers of your left hand to your lips and then holding them out to whomever you intend to salute. In the books, the left hand was used,[1] but in the first film it was the right hand, and the fingers were simply held up by one's side.[2] In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the left hand was used like in the book.[3]


74th Hunger Games reaping[]

When Primrose Everdeen was selected as District 12's female tribute during the reaping for the 74th Hunger Games, her older sister Katniss Everdeen volunteered to go in her place. Once Katniss had introduced herself onstage, Effie Trinket asked the rest of District 12 to applaud, but instead, they used the three-finger salute to say goodbye to Katniss and show their respects. According to Katniss, this gesture was old and rarely used by this point,[1] but its usage here inspired a resurgence of the symbol throughout the trilogy.

Rue's death[]


Katniss giving the salute in the arena.

When Marvel speared Rue in the stomach,[4], Katniss shot him in the upper chest with one of her arrows. Then, to show the Capitol that she was "not just a pawn in their games," Katniss decorated Rue's body with flowers, which the cameras would have to show when hovercraft came to collect the body. Before leaving, Katniss honored Rue with the three-finger salute.[5]

In the film adaptation, Katniss saluted towards the cameras, and the people of District 11 did the same shortly before sparking the uprising of District 11.[2]

The Victory Tour[]

Victor Tour

District 11 giving the respect sign.

During their stop in District 11 on the Victory Tour, Katniss and Peeta Mellark gave speeches honoring Rue and Thresh. After Katniss finished hers, an old man whistled Rue's four-note song, signaling for the crowd to salute Katniss with the sign from her district. As Katniss and Peeta left the stage, the old man was publicly executed on the steps of the Justice Building.[6][3]

Quarter Quell reaping[]

In the film adaptation of Catching Fire, residents of District 12 used the sign to pay respect to Katniss and Peeta at the reaping for the 75th Hunger Games.[3]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Hunger Games, Chapter 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Hunger Games film
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  4. The Hunger Games, Chapter 17
  5. The Hunger Games, Chapter 18
  6. Catching Fire, Chapter 4