03/12/2012 AT 03:00 PM EDT
The release of the highly anticipated movie adaptation
of The Hunger Games
is upon us. And if you still haven't read Suzanne Collins's trilogy about Katniss Everdeen and her adventures in Panem, you may be wondering what the fuss is all about. For that matter, what's Panem? What the heck is a tracker jacker? And who is President Snow? Well, we've got you covered with PEOPLE's glossary of terms from The Hunger Games
. Read on and the odds will definitely be in your favor when you sit down to watch the film, which comes out March 23.
A vast outdoor arena rigged with Panem's high-tech TV cameras as well as traps and challenges to test the tributes fighting each other to the death in the Hunger Games. An arena may contain anything from "a burning desert to a frozen wasteland." After the Hunger Games, the arenas become popular tourist destinations for Capitol citizens.
The initial fighting at the onset of the Hunger Games, as tributes race to a cornucopia, which contains crucial supplies such as food, weapons and medicine. Typically, there are a lot of deaths during the bloodbath.
A glamorous and protected city, where the ruling classes of Panem live. The Capitol's citizens are interested in outlandish fashion, fabulous food and, of course, the Hunger Games.
A volunteer tribute who has trained for his or her entire life to participate in the Hunger Games. Typically, these tributes (known as Careers) come from Districts 1, 2 and 4, which are more closely aligned with the Capitol.
A location inside every Hunger Games arena that may initially contain essential supplies such as food and water, medicine and weapons. It's the location of the bloodbath and feasts.
The time in Panem's history when the Districts rose up against the Capitol, resulting in the destruction of District 13. The Hunger Games are the yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated.
In addition to the Capitol, there are 12 districts in Panem, each with a different industry (such as coal mining or fishing), culture and standards of living. Districts 1, 2 and 4 are thought to be the wealthiest and the most closely aligned with the Capitol. Katniss Everdeen hails from the poorest district, the coal-mining area known as District 12. District 13 was destroyed by the Capitol during the Dark Days.
If food is scarce and there isn't enough action to placate Capitol viewers during the Hunger Games, the Gamemakers may announce a feast to lure the tributes to the Cornucopia to fight.
These Capitol citizens are responsible for producing the most exciting and entertaining Hunger Games possible – and they unleash untold havoc on the contestants inside the arena with just a push of a button.
Both a punishment for the Dark Days and a celebrated obsession in the Capitol, each of the 12 districts must provide one girl and one boy, known as tributes, to participate in an annual televised battle to the death in a large outdoor arena. The winner (the last tribute alive) will return to their district to live a life of fame and fortune. The citizens of the winner's district will also receive prizes, consisting mostly of food and supplies, for a year.