Mexican Independence Day remembers the Grito de Dolores or Independencia, a call for Mexicans to rebel against the Spanish, made by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1810.

Hidalgo was parish priest in the town of Dolores, from where the Grito - or Cry - takes its name. It is sometimes misinterpreted as 'The Cry of Pain', a literal translation from Spanish.

Hidalgo's cry led to a fullscale uprising and the Mexican War of Independence. Hidalgo himself was captured and executed by the Spanish in 1815, but bands of rebels continued to fight and the Mexicans finally won victory in 1821.

Independence Day is now a major holiday in Mexico. The President starts celebrations by ringing an historic bell and reciting a version of the original Cry the night before. On September 16, military parades, bullfights, rodeos and horseback rider performances take place in towns and cities across the whole Republic.

The anniversary of the end of the struggle for independence is celebrated every year on February 24th, Mexican Flag Day.

Read about the Cozumel 2007 Miss Independence competition.