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Fact-Check: Unrelated Video Shared as Clip of Olympic Torch Being Lit in Paris

The video is at least a year old and shows an Easter tradition in a church in Florence, Italy.

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A video showing a series of small fireworks going off, with one of them —which appears to be bird-shaped — traveling from inside a cathedral and outwards, has gone viral on social media.

The claim: Those sharing the video have claimed that it shows the "Lighting of the olympic torch, from a París church (sic)."

The video is at least a year old and shows an Easter tradition in a church in Florence, Italy.

An archived version of this post can be seen here.

(Source: X(formerly Twitter)/Screenshot)

(Archived versions of more posts on social media can be seen here and here.)

Is it true?: No, the video is at least one year old.

  • It reportedly shows an Easter tradition called Scoppio del Carro (Explosion of the Chariot) in Florence, Italy.

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How did we find out the truth?: Using InVID, a video verification extension on Google Chrome, we divided the viral video into multiple keyframes and ran a reverse image search on one of them.

  • The first result showed us the same video shared on X, on 10 April 2023, as one of an Easter tradition called Scoppio del Carro, in a church in Florence, Italy.

  • We also came across a screenshot of the same video in a report by the Spanish version of Huffington Post, titled 'The spectacular tradition of 'The Explosion of the Cart' and the 'Flight of the Dove' that impresses in Florence'.

The video is at least a year old and shows an Easter tradition in a church in Florence, Italy.

The article carried a screenshot of the video and explained the significance of the tradition.

(Source: El HuffPost/Screenshot)

What is happening?: The report mentioned that the tradition is based on a legend going back to 1099, when a Florentine Captain Pazzino dei Pazzi "fought infidels" in Jerusalem during the Crusades — religious wars backed by the Latin church.

  • Pazzi is believed to have raised the Christian flag on the Holy Sepulchre — where Jesus was crucified — and the site gave him three stones, which be brought home to Florence.

  • The then bishop used the stones as flint to light a fire, and the spectacle of a dove carrying the fire outside the church is meant to depict how this "holy fire" was shared with all citizens.

  • We also came across a thread of posts shared by a Catholic priest, along with the video, explaining the entire process and why it is done.

  • One of the posts in this thread also shares the same legend behind the tradition mentioned by El Huffpost.

The video is at least a year old and shows an Easter tradition in a church in Florence, Italy.

Reverend Vierling's explanation of the tradition and its significance.

(Source: X/Screenshot)

The Olympic torch: The official website of the Olympic games carries all information related to the Olympic torch, including details regarding when it was lit and its travel path.

  • One of the articles on its website mentioned that the torch meant for the 2024 Paris Olympics was lit on 16 April in Athens, Greece, and travelled across the Mediterranean Sea to France's Marseille, arriving on 8 May.

The video is at least a year old and shows an Easter tradition in a church in Florence, Italy.

The Olympic torch arrived in France on 8 May.

(Source: Olympics/Screenshot)

At the time of writing this report, the Olympic torch was reportedly in the C'Chartres area of France, south west of Paris.

The video is at least a year old and shows an Easter tradition in a church in Florence, Italy.

This is the latest update on the torch's location.

(Source: Olympics/Screenshot)

Conclusion: An old, unrelated video of an Easter tradition is being falsely linked to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9540511818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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