The Flame for the Athens 2004 Games was lit on March 25, 2004.
The symbol of peace and friendship among people was lit for the first time in the modern Olympic history in Ancient Olympia in 1936, fourteen years after the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896. For that reason, the Torch Lighting ceremony should have been different to the previous ones. It should have been a unique ceremony, full of symbolisms, in order to leave its hallmark throughout time. It should have been frugal and simple like the Olympic Torch Lighting Ceremonies in ancient Greece but splendid at the same time. March 25 is both a religious and national holiday for Greeks, as they celebrate the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary and the declaration of the Independence War on the Ottoman Turks. The first modern Olympic in Athens were also held on that day under the Julian calendar (April 6 under the Gregorian calendar). So the HOC decided the Torch Lighting Ceremony was held on Marc 25 in a bid to link the 1898 Olympics to the 2004 Games.
Some 108 years after their revival, the modern Olympics came back to their birthplace, Greece. At the Athens Games, the Olympic Flame was lit in Ancient Olympia but it did not end its long trip to a foreign country. It travelled around the world to return to the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony on August 13.