Mexico has a quieter independence celebration amid pandemic

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Fireworks go off in front of Metropolitan Cathedral after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gave the annual independence shout to kick off Independence Day celebrations amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, at the Zocalo in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Instead of the throngs of supporters who pack the Zocalo in a typical year, this Independence Day the president faced an empty plaza as he gave the traditional “Grito de Dolores,” which commemorates the 1810 call to arms by priest Miguel Hidalgo that began the struggle for independence from Spain. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexicans will celebrate their Independence Day without big public ceremonies for the first time in 153 years Tuesday night, due to restrictions on public gatherings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Each year the president rings the bell that marked the call to arms during the 1810-1821 struggle to win independence from Spain, and shouts “Viva Mexico!”

That shout, or “grito,” gives the ceremony its name. Independence Day is formally Sept. 16,  but has been celebrated the night before for over a century.

The event has not been canceled since 1847,  during the Mexican-American War,  when U.S. troops occupied Mexico City.

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