Despite what your typical drunk college student would tell you, the 5th of May is not Mexican Independence Day. In fact, Cinco de Mayo isn't even a national public holiday, though Mexican school children do get the day off. Rather, May 5 is simply the anniversary of an underdog victory by Mexican troops over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, and is celebrated mostly in the U.S. as an excuse to wear gaudy sombreros and drink Corona beer.
The real Mexican Independence Day is celebrated today, September 16, and commemorates the 1810 declaration of revolt against the Spanish by Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla. Father Hidalgo's rallying cry took place in the town of Dolores so the event is remembered as el Grito de Dolores (the Cry of Dolores).
The above photo portrays a calaca (skeletal) recreation of the event.
For more on Mexican Independence Day and El Grito de Dolores, visit Mexconnect.
Photo credit: katiebordner / Flickr