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What are Gypsies in the Romani Gypsy perspective

Updated on September 7, 2014

The Gypsies -- Romani people -- are the unique nation in the world to live in distinctive national pockets on four continents and have no home land. "Gypsy" is an exonym for Romani, Romany, Rroma, Sinti, Tzigani, Cigany, Gitans, Gitanos and some members of the group resent its use. For the purpose of this article it will frequently appear along the "Romani" and "Roma". not in disrespect but as a requirement of Search Engine Optimization for the topic.

The Roma are all speaking the same Romani language, albeit in dialects and have fiercely preserved their cultural and national identity through centuries of migration from one part of the world to another.

Small Gypsy communities left behind by those who decided to move further have kept their customs and traditions as distinctive groups in the middle of a many times hostile local population. The rejection of values and lifestyles has been reciprocal by both locals and Gypsies and it is difficult to know if discrimination by locals led to the isolation of the groups of Gypsies or the total disregard of local values by the Gypsies has led to discrimination by the established local cultures. The debate is still on today as democratic societies are trying to accommodate the Romani national traditional identity in the mainstream legislation and social cultural and welfare system. The Romani, on the other hand are just discovering their own history that they reclaim in a more structured and organized way as their own nationals are getting the necessary information and education for the task. The new era of access to information and travel have brought the apparition of Gypsy nationalism. The new era of informed interaction between different cultures is also contributing to a greater tolerance for the Romany traditional background that carries unusual values to someone outside the tribe. Stereotypes on Gypsies are slowly fading -- most importantly among the Romani people themselves. Education, sometimes legally enforced upon the Gypsy children will certainly slowly but surely bring the balance needed between the Romani nation's future status and the established social structures of the host countries of their homes.

Whatever the reason to stop by and read -- you will leave with a better picture of the fascinating Gypsy world -- and a good collection of resources on Romani history and the wonderful Gypsy music.

Find also a wonderful collection of more than 70 Gypsy folk tales -- just under the title "Gypsy tales and folk tales" They are free to read online or you can save them to your computer for future printing and distributing as the stories are in the public domain.

photo credit of the Romani Gypsy flag from Rroma (Gypsies)

What are the Gypsies? - History -- facts and stereotypes about the Romani nation

Articles about historical facts related to the migration of the Romani Gypsies from the North of India beginning the fifteenth Century. The Romani history is just about to be better .documented in current times as the Gypsies from all over the world have started to get organized in an officially recognized nation and get representation in their various countries social and political structures. The Romani Gypsy flag (intro picture) has been also only recently adopted as an unifying symbol of all the Romani Gypsies.

Current Gypsy -- Romany historyAn individual perspective of a GypsyPersonal perspective of a non Gypsy on the Gypsys


Interest and financing of projects related to research regarding Romany Gypsy history is emerging lately, as well as the recognition of their rights to a national identity. The matter is a great challenge for the leading political organizations as the formula for a satisfactory solution for all parties involved has no precedence.

Famous Gypsies in images-- on the Gelem Gelem soundtrack - Successful Romani personalities on the Gypsy Anthem musical background

Pictures of famous people of Gypsy origin on the most beautiful rendering of the Romani Anthem, the Gelem Gelem or Djelem Djelem musical background. The video is getting the number of famous and successful Romani Gypsy people in the world in the spotlight.. Artists and sportmen, politicians and writers, Romani have contributed to the general social development of the larger communities of their host countries. The video below is really worth for opening -- to the Romani reader and to the non Gypsies visiting this page alike.

Romani Dictionary - Hard cover Romany Dictionaries on Amazon

You can order the Romani Dictionary online from Amazon. For orders of USD 25 or more your order can qualify for free shipment. Free of charge return policy is protecting you from receiving dammaged goods -- or a Romani Dictionary that is not a Romani Ditionary :)

Famous people of Gypsy origin - Leading personalities in various fields of activity -- their Romani descent less known

There are Romani Gypsy nationals that became successful in various fields of activity and became well known. Famous Gypsy people might be in a far greater number than we can know -- there has been no reliable research into the matter. Some famous personalities of Romani Gypsy origin might not have been keen on revealing that. In other cases of successful people of Gypsy descent, the fact might have been gone unrecorded.

The Gypsy song on YouTube - the Rroma Gypsy singer Ando Drom performing Gypsy music

Fairly or unfairly -- the Gypsy song is the one part of the Romani culture that non Gypsies have accepted and liked. Gypsy music is the bridge that has brought the local population together with the strangers coming from far and the Gypsy songs have been the means of livelihood for generations of Rroma.

A selection of Gypsy songs should accompany your present reading -- it will hopefully bring joy into your hearts and life into your souls!

Informed scientific comparison between traditional laws in the Isralites and the Indo Aryan culturesFocus on the "marime" -- a law related to impurityShort reference to the topic

The articles above are of great value to anyone that is looking for information on the Romani Gypsy culture and tradition. The articles are comprehensive descriptions of the Romani society's traditional structure -- with reference to customary laws and behavior. Gypsy customs are not well known by outsiders and the Romani have values and taboos -- all very different from the Gadjo society, the non Gypsies. Reading about the Romani Gypsy laws, the concept of merime, the values and status that the Romani with Romanipen accept, marriage customs and rules on social interaction, the nature of Gypsy justice and the way it is delivered would give one a better understanding of their isolation among other populations. As the Gypsy traditional community system is little documented, we are grateful for the information that has been shared on the topic by the authors. Gypsy Laws are at the basis of the Gypsy traditions and customs -- they are a set of rules that might be difficult to understand from a non Gypsy point of view but knowing more about them could be a step to cross the bridge into a right direction. Take a moment to read about the Gypsy culture and traditions -- it might be that they are fading slowly as general social development tends to harmonize old habits with new ones that are more in tune with modern realities, but a glimpse into the fascinating Gypsy world is a privilege that should not be missed.

The Gypsy Court -- Romani Kris

The traditional form of justice of Gypsies

What is the Gypsy Court? The Romani word for the Gypsy court is Kris -- a form of balancing disagreements between members of the community as a traditional form of making justice.

The Russian Gypsy song in spotlight - Gypsy music performed by Romani from Russia

Gypsy communities living alongside the local population in the various places they settled have been providing music for entertainment on occasions of celebrations. Naturally gifted for music, Gypsy musicians and singers were performing local songs and their own music too, on request by those that they entertained. The result soon was a musical mixture and the Romani communities from the host countries developed music and songs of distinct regional musical identity. The Russian Gypsy songs are well known worldwide. Russian Gypsy music is played in most parts of the world -- to the delight of music lovers of all backgrounds. Famous movies soundtracks embed Russian Gypsy songs

Russian Gypsy songs on Amazon -- audio - The beauty of the Gypsy song at its best

Get a Russian Gypsy song collection to cherish and hold -- and listen to wherever you go.

Hungarian Gypsy Cigany music - Cigany enekek

Music and songs have been for the Rroma Gypsies a means for making an income and being socially accepted. Great Gypsy singers became favored by powerful figures of the local community and got their protection and support. Hungarian Gypsies and enetertaining musicians , the Cigany, became the same, as a concept. The Hungarian Romani Gypsy would sing for happy moments as well as for sad moments for his public -- and share them with it.

A Gypsy vardo interior -- real tradition in Romani luxury

Interior decoration of Gypsies

The Gypsy Wagon -- or Vardo -- is the caravan that the Romani people used to live and travel. It is less of the place of a home nowadays, even for the Romani themselves. However, there are still Gypsies that keep a vardo as a matter of pride. Old pictures of Gypsy caravans show a taste for the colorful decoration that is a trademark of the Gypsy sense of beauty. Current Gypsy vardos seem to keep the traditional line.

Rich Romani Gypsies

Wealthy Rroma

It is false that Gypsies are poor. The members of the Romani Gypsy ethnic groups are like any other groups of people -- some are rich, some are poor and some are living an average lifestyle being people of average financial status. Globalization, democratization, modernization have affected the Gypsies too -- some integrated, partially or totally into the mainstream population, being more or less concerned of the traditional Gypsy customs rather as a private and personal matter. Other than becoming financially comfortable by education and making a successful professional career, or earning a wealth trough talent and art, there are a great number of Gypsies that became rich by taking advantage of the sudden freedom of private enterprise in the Eastern European block. Many big houses built according the specific Gypsy aesthetic show that Romani can and are getting sometimes rich.

The poor Romanies -- the other side of the Romani myth

There are Rroma struggling with poverty

There are poor Rroma -- living in poverty seems almost traditional for some. The reasons are complex and perpetuated by suspicions from both sides between the Rroma and the non Romani. Members of the community deal with them as individuals -- poor or rich, some Romani taking advantage of the opportunities for education and encourage their children for a change, others just keeping the same isolation from the mainstream population. Efforts are certainly made by the leaders of the Romani communities and the political representatives of the Roma to find a balance to integrate and preserve ethnic national identity..

American Gypsy -- avoid stereotype perspective on a nation of indidivuals

Get the facts beyond the myth and movies

Avoid the stereotype images that often catch eyes in the media or movies. The Romani are a nation, scattered over the world. This simple fact would be enough to make the members of its communities different from each other. But more to the principle -- the Romani Gypsies are a nation that has individuals -- it is not a block but a lively community with a variety of lifestyles as any other nation in the world. The Gypsies have been romanticized as a topic for storytelling -- and sometimes for entertainment in the movie industry -- but in real life facts are a bit different than just a story.

American Gypsies -- elusive for well researched facts, the Romani perspective has more than a few points of view

The movie perspective on Romani -- quite like in films, rather a stereotype

American Gypsies -- avoid stereotype perspective on the Roma and rather get the facts


What are the Gypsies? It is not simple to answer. - More personal views on Gypsies

There is more to the Gypsy individual than keeping traditions and ethnic identity. Gypsies are not just a mass of people that are characterized by wearing colorful costumes, singing or complaining about the world being against them. Like in every other group, some Gypsies do their wonderful stuff, and let us know about:

Leading the Romani -- Roma Gypsy organizations and unions

Official websites for information related to Romani issues

There is a number of International Romani Gypsy organizations and Associations that create the environment for the Roma to find their way of a new integration into modern times, to build channels of communication between groups living in various countries, to meet up on occasion of the various Romani Festivals, to make cultural exchanges and preserve Romani Gypsy traditions. Leading the international and national Romani Gypsy communities there are the modern Baro -- the outstanding figures of Rroma.

Flamenco - Originated from the local music and Gypsy songs

Originated from the influence on the local music of the Gypsy songs, flamenco is a distinct musical style.

What are the Romanichal Gypsies?

What are Romanichals?

Yet another name for the Romani Gypsies, the Romanichal Gypsies are a group of the Romany nation. Read more below about what a Romanichal Gypsy is -- and where they live currently.

Have you been at a Gypsy festival?

Roma cultural events

Romani festivals are cultural events when the Roma from other parts of the world can meet, socialize and enjoy Gypsy songs and dance. There are several international Romani festivals and some traditional regional events. Non Gypsies can also attend and take advanteg of an opportunity to find out more about Romani culture and traditions.

Gypsy horse fairs for the Gypsy Vanners

The Gypsy Cobs at horse shows

Gypsies like their horses. Although transport does not depend anymore on horses, many Gypsy Romany still keep the traditional Gypsy horse breed, the Gypsy Cob or the Vanner horse. Gypsies take pride in their horsemanship -- traditionally the Gypsies had great skills and knowledge of horses and trading horses was a specific Gypsy occupation. The Gypsy Vanner horses became popular in the USA and they are well loved in Europe, especially in the UK. Gypsy horse fairs became nowadays events less about trading horses and more about socializing and meeting for the purpose of matchmaking -- as the saying goes, the horse and the woman is the pride of a man!

Horse quotes and sayings

Gypsy weddings -- Romani wedding traditions

Roma brides and the traditional marriage customs

In traditional Romani culture the groom and bride's union is decided by their respective families when the wedded-to-be are still children. Romani Gypsy marriages are negotiated without the young groom and bride could have a say -- it is more a about the union of the two families than the union between the young Romani. Girls can be very young -- roughly 10 years old when they can be married by their respective families. The grooms are sometimes older but not in all cases -- sometimes the groom are also just children. The girl will follow her husband, once she is married and the groom's family will consider her as their own daughter. The custom of marrying at such an early age is slowly fading though the as Roma can not avoid the changing social environment they live in.

Download Secret Romani Gypsy magic spellsFree Old Gypsy Love spellFree download from eBookee torrent of various spell and magic

I searched for old secrets of Romani Gypsy spells to share with those that can find them helpful in a difficult moment of their lives. The spells are described and step by step guidance given for the procedure of the spell casting. You would do the spells yourself, in the safety of your home. The Gypsy spells that I linked below are white spells, for love, health and happiness. The spells involve focusing on your problem and the people related to them, small rituals that help concentrating and old rhymes of Romani Gypsy origin -- some of them in the Romani Gypsy language and their translation into English. .

Best of Romani Gypsy folktales - Roma foloklore and tales - Rromane paramicha

The beautiful world of folk tales to make any child happy -- especially those children that have at least one drop of Romani blood. Romani folk tales have been collected by passionate people about Romani traditions, Gypsy stories and culture. Gypsy tales bring to the forefront the Gypsy traditional characters, values and beliefs.

Romani woman in her daily clothes

The traditional Romany Gypsy costume is colorful. Gypsy woman and girls wear brightly colored skirts and blouses with large sleeves. Brightly colored accessories complete the image. All items are patterned in different designs and different colors. Big shawls or big sized colored pieces of cloth thrown around the shoulders, head or even around the waist makes Gypsy women to have that air of wild beauty and comfort with their own appearance. The skirts are long and cover the feet completely -- in fact, in Gypsy Romany tradition, for a woman to show her feet to a Gypsy man is taboo.

In contrast to the women, the Gypsy Romany man is wearing a combination of white shirt, with long and large sleeves in combination with a dark, mostly black trousers and a dark, mostly black hat. It is not usual but the Gypsy man can also wear a brightly but plainly colored shirt, of silky and shiny texture. Men wear dark coats to complete the traditional Romany outfit. The favorite textiles for the Gypsy male's trousers and coat are velvet and corduroy.

Views on the Gypsies

What are the Gypsies -- after all?

The views on the Gypsies -- from outside -- will tell quite little about how they really are. By the end, the truth is that Gypsies are like any other nation -- although they all have a common culture, as individuals, they are different. Gypsies are certainly a challenge to the established order and they do not like to be simply assimilated.

The big fat Gypsies

The Big fat Gypsy Wedding -- previews and simply views

The big fat Gypsies are featured in a controversial reality show series. The show is narrowing interest on a few aspects of the Gypsy lifestyle and the character of the Romanichals. The British Travellers ( Romanichals ) and other parties concerned widely condemned the television series, with good reasons. However, the great success to the audience brought a second series, very much to the disillusionment of the Romanichal population. By the end, it goes down to commercial success and the Tv show defends its production by the public's interest in flashy events rather than in seeing normal people going around about such normal activities as working. The series has been broadcast in America es well where a sizable population of Romanichal Gypsies currently live

The Romanian Gypsy King's resting place prepared for his funeral -- a fully furnished roomThe Gyspy style lifestyle becoming a trend?

Informal views in an interesting assortment from blogs by Gypsies and non Gypsies on what the Gypsies are. For one that is really interested in an answer it becomes clear that there is no simple answer to the question of what the Gypsies are. They are people, in the first place, and as different as any other individual from an other individual. Aside the common characteristics of a cultural background that they are more or less personally relating to, Gypsies are people that find their ways to live in a world that we all share.

Do you know any real Gypsy? Are you even bothered about the topic on the Romani Gypsies? Can you relate to the passion that the Romani Gypsies feel about being free? Do you like the Gypsy songs? Would you adhere to the set of traditional Gypsy customs?

Romany and non Gypsies from all over the world -- make your comments here - Do you have any personal view on the Romani Gypsies?

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    • profile image

      Michael Ferto 3 years ago

      Great overview

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      This is a very interesting lens. I know there are many prejudices, but I guess, at heart, people are people - some good, some bad, in every culture.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Very interesting lens indeed - pinned to my history board and blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You have a treasure trove of info here on these colorful folks! Keep up your good work and shine on! :)

    • chft55 lm profile image

      chft55 lm 4 years ago

      Nice lens! I am part Romanian, so I always thought Gypsies were cool. And my family and I LOVE the Gypsy Kings. Thanks for your writing!

    • viscri8 profile image
      Author

      viscri8 4 years ago

      @TwistedWiseman: I know what you are talking about as I am coming from Romania where things are the same. It is up to society and the Gypsies themselves too to make the effort of finding the best ways to live together -- there is no alternative to that. There are scum people among the mainstream population as well -- what can we do with them?

    • viscri8 profile image
      Author

      viscri8 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Lyuba, I hope you live a full and happy life in your new home country. I wish you good luck and friends from all the nations that live in New Zeeland that will love you for how you are rather than looking for what you are!

    • viscri8 profile image
      Author

      viscri8 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Melissa, I am sure that you are an awesome person. I wish you the best luck and a happy life!

    • viscri8 profile image
      Author

      viscri8 4 years ago

      @Travel Shepherd: I agree, Paroshep, of course Gypsies are not all wonderful and sugar and spice and all things nice. That is more or less true for other nations too -- there is trash everywhere in the world -- I just focused here on the sides of the Gypsy culture and those Gypsies that respect their own tradition.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      You did a great job at explaining gypsies here. So much great info. Blessed.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      You did a great job at explaining gypsies here. So much great info. Blessed.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Great lens Blessed

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Great lens Blessed

    • profile image

      ComradePrincess 5 years ago

      @TwistedWiseman: Poverty isn't nearly as scummy as a person with Internet access abusing it to mock the poor instead of using his information privilege to make the world a better place.

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 5 years ago

      Very interesting and unique lens. Nice Job and Blessings to you.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for describing different aspect of gypsies and their life styles.

    • Travel Shepherd profile image

      Michael Shepherd 5 years ago from Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland

      An interesting read, Thank You. But it doesn't seem to be complete without photos of all the trash left behind when the travellers move on. Perceptions of the Gypsies will not improve until their leaders take responsibility for the obnoxious members of their nation.

      Cheers,

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi.im melissa ima half-breed born to a family of romanichal gypsies in memphis tnn...just like to thro out there that i hav two college degrees and do not beg for things...most ppl think gypsy is a made up race or herritage...well glad we got sites like these to sho the gorjas who is really the ignorrant one...we do exist! And were awesome...at least i am!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi my name is melissa... Im from memphis tnn. I was born to a family of romanichal gypsies im 27 years old and ppl are always freaked when i tell them my nationality...ppl are ignorant to us thinking we are a "made up race or tribe" im so glad we have sites like this to prove the gorjas wrong....all my ppl know what i mean...peace!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I LIVE IN NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA AND ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ANY THING ABOUT GYPSY. I AM ONE AND I COME FROM RUSSIA AND IN RUSSIA PEOPLE ARE NOT VERY NICE TO GYPSY. I REMEMBER THAT TIME THERE. BUT NOW I LIVE HERE AND PEOPLE ON THIS SIDE OF THE WORLD ARE GOOD AND HELPFUL TO ALL PEOPLE NO MATER WHAT YOU ARE. OTHER COUNTRY'S SHOULD HELP GYPSY PEOPLE. THIS IS GOOD INFO FOR ALL THANK YOU I HAVE LEARNED SOME NEW THINGS ABOUT MYSELF.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I AM ROMANY GYPSY I DO RELATE BUT DO NOT LIVE AS GYPSY.

    • TwistedWiseman profile image

      TwistedWiseman 5 years ago

      Well I live in Serbia and basically they are treated as scum, not many Gypsies here deserve too much respect. Mostly beggars and thieves with no education or pride. My former lumber master " JUGA " is a great man and also a gypsy, he really tries to stand out of the usual gypsy stigma of being scum.

    • chft55 lm profile image

      chft55 lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens! I'm part Romanian, so I like to tell people I'm part Gypsy as a joke.

    • profile image

      sherioz 5 years ago

      Thanks so much for this fascinating portrait of the Roma. I've always been curious about them.

    • lamontcranston profile image

      lamontcranston 5 years ago

      I had no idea that the gypsies had such rich life! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • GabStar profile image

      GabStar 5 years ago

      wonderful page!

    • DIY Mary profile image

      DIY Mary 5 years ago

      What a fascinating history about a fascinating people! I really learned a lot from your lens and I love the music video clips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I heard gypsies are very naughty, but I don't believe a word of it, being one myself!

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      Great precious lens about gypsies. Great :)

    • viscri8 profile image
      Author

      viscri8 5 years ago

      @juditpaton: Charlie Chaplin's parents occupation were: alcoholic abandoning his family -- for his father -- and singer actress, for his mother.

    • viscri8 profile image
      Author

      viscri8 5 years ago

      @juditpaton: Thanks for the visit. maybe Charlie Chaplin (and his mother) have not been keen to publicize their Gypsy origin, which should be not surprise anybody. I guess there are many more people of Gypsy origins that do not want to make that public. Aside the mystery around Chaplin's birth place, the famous actor himself referred to his maternal grandmother of being of Gypsy origin in his autobiography, making a note of this "skeleton" in the family closet. Not that Charlie Chaplin origin would matter that much, after all we know and love him for his talent and activity not for his origins.

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 5 years ago from Ozun

      Very informative and beautiful lens, however i doubt that Charles Chaplin would be of rromani origin, as his parents were poor british people, with specifically jewish jobs, what the traveller people never practiced, and if the mother gave birth to his son in a gypsy caravan, this would not give him gypsy origin, rather is a consequence of the poor artists condition.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I can certainly relate to the passionate Romani Gypsy's desire to be free, I enjoy the music and the life in it. I think we all follow traditions adapted from customs that work for us in the culture we live in and I can see the desire to preserve identity. I suppose if I had Gypsy heritage that I would naturally want to adhere to traditional customs, at least in part but can't say for sure. An excellent presentation of Romani Gypsies and I am among those surprised by the list of celebrities you share but surprised in a nice way I think. You have caused me to expand the stakes of my tent here!...*