What started as a simple children's book has transformed into one of the most important traditions of the holiday season, as fans young and old flock to theaters to see one of the most iconic ballets of all time. Take our quiz to see how much you know about the history, music and characters that make up this Christmas classic.
Many modern versions of "The Nutcracker" change Maria to Clara, but the original name of the young girl at the heart of the story stays the same in Russian versions of the production, where Maria is typically known by the name Masha.
Clara throws her slipper, which kills the Mouse King and brings Act I of the ballet to a close.
The Sugarplum Fairy famously dances a pas de deux with the Cavalier, though some versions of the show replace the Sugarplum Fairy with Clara to dance this pivotal scene.
At the end of Act I, Clara and the Prince travel on a sled from the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets, which serves as the setting for Act II.
The three Stahlbaum children -- Fritz, Louisa and Maria (or Clara) -- all appear throughout the duration of "The Nutcracker."
Clara's godfather, the inventor Herr Drosselmeier, gives the Nutcracker to the Stahlbaum family, but Clara immediately takes a special liking to the gift.
Fritz's toy soldiers come to life to battle the mice, who are led into battle by the wicked Mouse King.
Herr Drosselmeier's nephew transforms into a Prince in Clara's dream and travels with her through the wondrous Kingdom of Sweets.
In Act II of "The Nutcracker," dances from various countries create food-themed performances, with candy canes for Russia and chocolate for Spain.
The 8 young Polinchinelles hide beneath the voluminous skirt of Mother Ginger, but often escape to perform a dance of their own.
While E.T.A. Hoffman wrote the original "Nutcracker" story in 1816, Alexandre Dumas gave the story a lighter, friendlier feel when he adapted it in 1845.
The first performance of "The Nutcracker" took place December 18, 1892 at the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Father of Russian ballet Marius Petipa composed the 1892 version of the ballet, assisted by Lev Ivanov.
The San Francisco Ballet was the first to bring "The Nutcracker" to the United States when it performed the ballet in 1944.
Unlike other versions of the ballet, the Moscow Ballet's version features the Dove of Peace, who welcomes Clara and the Prince to the Land of Peace and Harmony.
It was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who came up with the iconic music we now know as The Nutcracker Suite.
Tchaikovsky used the celesta -- a keyboard instrument similar to a piano -- to create the tinkling sounds of the Sugarplum Fairy.
The Russian candy cane dance, with its traditional Russian folk dancing, is also known as the Trepak.
The Dewdrop Fairy soars across the stage during the Waltz of the Flowers near the conclusion of Act II.
The 1892 performance of "The Nutcracker," which played on a double bill alongside an opera called "Iolanta," was considered a failure. Even Tchaikovsky described the production as boring.
"The Nutcracker" often helps keep the lights on for ballet companies. At the San Francisco Ballet, for example, 40 percent of annual ticket sales come solely from "The Nutcracker."
The legendary Balanchine composed his version of the show for the New York City Ballet in 1954. As a child, Balanchine danced the role of the Prince in a Russian production of the ballet.
The book version of the story is much harsher than the ballet. Clara's parents are much tougher in the book, and she decides not to return home when the story concludes.
The beloved children's author and illustrator was chosen to design the costumes for the Northwest Pacific Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" in 1983.
Olympic champion Dorothy Hamill starred opposite Robin Cousins in the 1983 production, which moved the ballet from the stage to the skating rink.
The Dance of the Mirlitons -- or reed pipes -- takes its name from a simple kazoo-like instrument known as the mirliton.
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite features in "Fantasia," where fairies and hippos dance through fields of mushrooms. The film was ahead of its time, using music from "The Nutcracker" four years before the ballet was ever performed in the U.S.
Fritz breaks the nutcracker during a tussle with Clara. In some versions, Herr Drosselmeier repairs his creation. In others, Clara mends the nutcracker with her hair ribbon.
Take about prolific. Tchaikovsky wrote the music for both "Sleeping Beauty" and "Swan Lake" before taking on "The Nutcracker," his third ballet.
Disney announced in 2016 that Keira Knightley would play the Sugarplum Fairy. For those wondering about the whole ballet thing -- Misty Copeland is also set to star in the production.