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St. Patrick’s Day in Hartford: A Cuban’s Perspective

The St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the most interesting celebrations in the United States
People gather waiting for the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hartford, CT. (Photo by Reynaldo Cruz/ CLU)

Upon my arrival in the United States, one of the first opportunities I had to do some street photography was during the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hartford, Connecticut. It presented itself as an opportunity for some photojournalism and documentary photography, something that I had not done since a week before leaving Mexico on January 23, 2022.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade had actually sparked my curiosity for a long time, even though I am from Cuba. More than once I had seen the heroes or the villains in a movie mingle with the crowd of the parade to escape from their pursuers.

Held in the United States since 1601, St. Patrick’s Day is an event to celebrate Irish and Irish American culture. Also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick (Lá Fhéile Pádraig in Irish), the holiday’s date is March 17 to mark the death of Saint Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland.

Although it is not legally or officially considered holiday in the country, it is a very popular event. There is a lot of display of the colors green and orange. It also has a reputation for being a hotbed for high volumes of alcohol consumption.

However, witnessing the first parade of my life in Hartford, Connecticut, was an experience worth photographing. The energy was amazing and the warmth of the people, both parading and watching, made up for the chilly wind and the rather gray day.

Having some caution in terms of how I approached it, I found those parading to be extremely friendly and welcoming to me taking their photo. Some people reacted to the camera and even waved at me. Others chose to ignore my presence to the point that the photos looked candid, whereas others were completely undisturbed or genuinely unaware of me or the camera.

Dancers, street performers, floats representing different fields of work and community (reminding me of the now-far-in-my-memory May Day Parades in Cuba), and bands marched along the streets. I ended up with a collection of photos of one of the most iconic celebrations in the United States.

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