San Mateo Ozolco Carnavalero: Philadelphia

San Mateo Ozolco is a small town on the outskirts of the city of Cholula, in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Over the past decade immigrants from San Mateo have settled in South Philadelphia. Today over 12,000 live in Philadelphia—more than one- third of San Mateo's population. Like many other immigrants, they maintain active connections to their former homes, working and living here while investing in housing, schools, roads and community life back in San Mateo, where family members remain. Since 2007, bearded masks, beaded capes, goatskin headdresses, and other costume accessories are among the goods that travel to Philadelphia from Puebla. These artifacts are used in an annual celebration called Carnaval, which commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla (an event more widely known as Cinco de Mayo), at which Mexican soldiers defeated the occupying French forces.