May 30, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Impressive images of Ancient Olympia at the dress rehearsal for the lighting ceremony

The Olympic flame will rise again in the holy land of Ancient Olympia tomorrow, Tuesday 16 April, and begin its journey to the French capital of Paris.

The ceremony will take place at 11:30 in the presence of the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou. Everyone was allowed to watch the impressive performance.

The Olympic flame will be reborn in the hands of the High Priestess Maria Mina, and the choreographic production was directed by Artemis Ignatiou. The music for the lighting ceremony was composed by Dimitris Papadimitriou. The ode/chorodia will be performed by 35 priestesses and 15 kuri. The dancers' costumes were created by world-renowned designer Mary Katrantzou. The Olympic anthem will be performed by leading mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, and the emcee will be renowned journalist Nikos Aliagas.

Olympic champion Stefanos Douskos will receive the Olympic flame from the hands of High Priestess Maria Mina to begin the torch relay on Greek soil, which will last 11 days until April 26.

The Olympic flame was first lit by the Greek sun at a sacred historical site in Ancient Olympia. Since then, the unique ceremony has served as a harbinger of the Olympic Games around the world. The sacred flame travels through the country where the games will be held and burns until the Olympics are over, as a vivid reminder of the land that gave birth to it.

The lighting ritual begins mystically, with a procession of the priestesses of Hera in front of the temple of the goddess. Dressed in archaic robes, the priestesses surround the altar. At this time, the high priestess, calling on the god Apollo, lights the torch using a concave mirror. According to the myth of Prometheus, fire is a symbol of life, reason and freedom. The flame is always lit on the altar of Prytaneus in Ancient OlympiaAnd.

Then the high priestess moves the flame into a ceramic pot and, at the head of a procession of priestesses, marches to the stadium. They pass by an olive tree, where they stop briefly and “amphitalis pai”, a small boy, cuts off an olive branch as a symbol of peace and the main prize for the winner. When the procession arrives at the stadium, the high priestess lights the first runner's torch. This is how the Olympic torch relay starts. The flame travels to many places and becomes a connecting thread for people, presenting a message of hope.

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