Mexico has looked beyond its drug war and the latest Atlantic storm to throw a 200th birthday bash celebrating a proud history, whimsical culture and resilience embodied in the traditional independence cry: "Viva Mexico!"
Across the capital, hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets despite their fears, blowing horns and dancing alongside a parade of serpent floats, marching cacti and 13ft warrior marionettes, staying late into the night at open-air concerts.
President Felipe Calderon capped the evening by ringing the original independence bell from a balcony in Zocalo square and delivering El Grito, based on founding father Miguel Hidalgo's 1810 call to arms against Spain: "Long live independence. Love live the bicentennial. Long live Mexico!" according to The Press Association.
All were on display with a $40 million fiesta, two years in the making. About 60,000 revellers - many wearing sombreros and face paint with the red, white and green of the Mexican flag - crowded along Reforma Avenue, the capital's main promenade, cheering and yelling "Bravo!" at the start of the 1.7-mile parade of floats and dances designed by the country's top artists.
Another 25,000 gathered early at the main Zocalo plaza, where President Felipe Calderon was later set to deliver the traditional "Grito" - three shouts of "Viva Mexico" - to celebrate the 1810 uprising that resulted a decade later in independence from Spain, Telegraph.co.uk reports.