Mexico Celebrates 200 Years IndependenceWorld | September 16, 2010, Thursday // 11:04| views
Fireworks light the sky over Zocalo square as thousands take part in the celebration of the bicentenary of the Mexico independence from Spain in Mexico City. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Thousands of Mexicans celebrated Wednesday night 200 years of independence from Spain with dazzling light shows, fireworks and performances.
The festivities in the capital began with a group of shamans dressed in white robes and feathers carrying out a pre-Hispanic fire ritual.
A 20-meter warrior statue was erected downtown Mexico City, towering above the huge crowds gathered there for hours of concerts, fireworks and light shows.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon headed the official festivities, which, after an impressive parade, culminated with the traditional "grito" (shout of independence) led by Calderon, and broadcast across the country.
The shout is an echo of the battle cry of Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo, who began the 1810 uprising.
Security was tight with heavily armed agents carrying metal detectors and helicopters circling in the sky above the capital. A number of towns across Mexico cancelled festivities over security concerns
Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1810, but Madrid recognized the new nation in 1821 after an 11-years-long war.
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