Ruska Romani (Kalderash of Russia)
Polska Romani (Kalderash of Poland)
Căldărari (Kalderash of Romania)
Kalderash of Ukraine
Manouche (Kale Romani of France)
Iberian Kale (Kale Romani of Spain)
Romanichal (Kale of the British Isles & America)
(The group that popularized the “Gypsy” Vanner & the Romani vardo)
(She is very light in complexion. The Romanichal vary in skin complexion & hair color, just like every other Romani sub-group)
Kàlo (Romani Kale of Finland & Sweden)
(Romani of Austria & Germany)
Xoraxane (Romani of Turkey)
Lovari (Romani of Hungary & Slavic countries)
Machvaya (Romani of the Balkans & Southern Hungary)
Gurbeti (Romani of the former Yugoslavia)
Romani of Macedonia
Rroma (Romani sub-group dispersed from Northern Italy to the Balkans)
The Romani are separated into various nations, sub-groups, tribes & family groups. The division & self-identification among Romani is rather complex. In short, we are divided into four categories: Vlax, Sinti, Kale & Rroma.
The Kalderash are the largest Vlax nation. The Ruska & Polska Romani, as well as some Eastern European Romani groups who self-identify by their country are part of the Kalderash Nation.
The Lovari are another sub-group of the Vlax Nation. The Machvaya of Serbia & other small Balkan groups are essentially branches of the Lovari. Over time, separation occurred between Romani of the Balkans & their Lovari parent group. Some Romani still self identify as Lovari-Machvaya, or Balkan Lovari, others self identify only as Machvaya or their respective Balkan group.
The Gurbeti are also considered part of the Vlax nation, though they do not always self identify as such.
The Xoraxane, the Romani of Turkey, are generally lumped under the Vlax nation, though they no longer self identify as Vlax. The Xoraxane are the Romani who settled in Turkey, while splinter groups continued to migrate north into the Balkans & other parts of Europe. Their settlements are some of the oldest Romani communities in the world, though many young Xoraxane Romani no longer speak the Romani language.
The Rroma are dipsersed throughout Central & Southeastern Europe. They are generally identified by the region in which they live; Carpathian, Burgenland, Balkan, or Greek. They contain sub-groups such as the Ungrika of Hungary, the Lucani & Calabresi of Italy, and the Aškalija & Yerlii of the Balkans.
The Sinti are a Romani group who settled in the region of Austria, Germany & the former Czechoslovakia. There is sometimes contention as to whether the Sinti are a Romani sub-group as they often self-identify ethnically as Sinti, not Romani. However, their language, though influenced by German, is considered a dialect of the Romanes language, and is most closely related to the Kale dialect family.
The Kale are Romani who settled in regions of Western Europe. They consist of the Manouche of France, the Romanichal of the British Isles, the Kalo of the Nordic countries & the Kale of Spain, sometimes called the Gitanos.
As stated previously, self identification varies greatly amongst Romani. This explanation is a general overview & not in any way definitive of how certain Romani sub-groups may identify themselves. For example, my family self-identifies as Lovari-Machvaya, while many Machvaya no longer identify with this parent group. Also, Romanichal often simply identify as Romanichal, without mention of their Kale parent nation. Much of our self-identification depends on where a particular Romani sub-group has settled & from where they migrated and when. There are few Machvaya in Serbia who acknowledge their filial relationship with the Lovari, but there are Machvaya in America who continue to do so because they left this region before the groups become more geographically & linguistically separated.
There are also many Romani groups that have come about through different sub-groups continually inter-marrying with one another. We are not, at least not at the moment, in any way capable of tracing & identifying every single sub-ethnic population of the Romani. What is shown & discussed is of the most well known & documented Romani groups. There are over 80 identified dialects of our language, at the moment. There are likely far more than 80 self-identified Romani sub-ethnic groups.
The pictures above show general dress of these various nations & groups. Notably, the Sinti have managed to assimilate more in to mainstream society, and are perhaps the most assimilated of the various Romani groups. However, Germany & Austria had long forced assimilation through radical laws that went so far as to take the children of Sinti families & place them in families of non-Romani to be “civilized”.
The situation of each Romani nation & our various groups differs from country to country, even from family to family. Though, one can see the cohesive nature of this traditional dress. Given that we began our diaspora over one thousand years ago, relatively speaking, little has changed of our culture & language since we first entered Europe.
The young Romanichal girl that is depicted, though her population as been separated from the Vlax for over five hundred years, and many miles, still traditionally braids her hair the same way as the Vlax Romani who remained in Eastern Europe. It is rather remarkable that we have managed to maintain our culture & language in this ever-changing world.
Characteristic features of traditional Roma professions are high proportions of flexibility and independence. In contrast to dependent wage workers they sell services and trade to the majority population. Contact with the Gadže is limited to purely economic interest. This independence is guaranteed by carrying out the professions together in economic communities.
Irrespective of whether the group leads a settled or nomadic life, in a traditional Roma community all members have the same occupation – provided that the conditions allow it. Comparable with the Indian caste society there is a relation between the group and the profession. Also those groups who have been forced to assimilate try to maintain these structures to a smaller extent.
The relevance of the traditional professions for the ethnic identity of the respective group is further emphasized by the fact that many Roma groups name themselves after their main occupation:
E romane bùtyange śerune xaraktera si o fleksibiliteto taj o biumblavdipe. Na sar e butyarne so umblavena pe penge pokinatar, von bikinen penge sevimata (servizo) taj keren śefto e gadźikane populaciasa. O kontakto e gadźenca numaj pala śeftura aćhol. Kado biumblavdipe si garantuime khatar o fakto, kajso e rom butyarena ande ekonomikane jekhetanipe.
Naj vastno/importanto e grupa te si phirutni vaj beśli, e tradicionalna rom sa jekh butyi kerena ande jekh kumpania – kana e krujalimata mekena kodo. Sarso vi maśkar e Indiaki kast sistema, arakhela pe relacia maśkar e grupa taj e profesia, i butyi so kerela. Vi e grupe so zumade te bilaren maśkar pende e gadźe, zumaven te inkren kadala strukture sarso śaj.
E tradicionalone grupangi etnikani identiteta si zurardo khatar o fakto, ke but romane grupi buśona pala pengi tradicionalno butyi:
I’ve seen a screening of this film by my friend Meshakai Wolf. I highly recommend htis story of language, culture, displacement and following your passion in life.
Sunday Nov. 13th
American Museum of Natural History
Get tickets here
Synopsis: As a songwriter and poet, Muzafer Bislim collaborates with the biggest names in Romani pop music and is gaining renown with an invitation to the International Biennial of Poets in Paris. But his masterpiece, a handwritten, 25,000 word, multi-dialect dictionary containing the oldest and most obscure words in the Romani language remains largely unknown. Seeing the trip to Paris as an opportunity to have the dictionary published, he gathers up the amassed pages of his life’s work and heads to France to save the legacy of the dying Romani language.
THE second series of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is being blocked because of a row with travellers where bosses wanted to film.
The show was due to be screened next year but families at Dale Farm, Britain’s biggest gypsy site, have barred producers for “misrepresenting” the community.
Spokesman Jake Fulton said: “The residents do not have the energy to talk to the crews the whole time.
“They feel they were misrepresented in the first series and do not want them on the site anymore.”
But Channel 4 is confident the series will be finished and said not all families had opted out of the show.
A spokesman added: “We filmed there recently, have good relationships with a number of people and are still in contact.
“The first series was a fair and accurate representation of what happened during filming, and we hope to continue to tell the story of Dale Farm in the next.”
The 400 travellers living illegally at the former scrapyard, in Essex, recently lost a 10-year battle to stay at the site and will be evicted on September 19.
Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday backed the £18million forced clearance.
He said: “I certainly give my support to Essex Police and to all the county and district councils that have been involved.”
[Source: Daily Mirror]
If it’s such a ‘fair and accurate representation’ then why are the families protesting?
Oh wait, could it be because they’re being forcibly evicted from their fucking homes and people like Kate Moss are not even getting off their stuck-up little arses to give a shit? Oh, they’ll take the culture, they’ll appropriate shit down to London and back, but actually support people when they’re in need? Not a fucking chance. All these people who “love” the show, and “love” the people, and “want a gypsy wedding/lifestyle/family/girlfriend” … but not ONE single VOICE is raised against the treatment they’re receiving. Not even the producers of the show—who’ve raked in TONS because of it…
Says something about the status of travellers the world over—not just in the UK. Also says something about appropriation and romanticism of the ‘gypsy’ culture…
I am SO ANGRY over this right now.
I don’t identify (personally) with the subset of travellers who mostly live in Dale Farm or in the TV shows. But, they are nevertheless my people. There are Romani living there too—and old Pavee families…
Just… so speechless.
Roma people making food, taken in Romania.
Gypsies: The Other Americans — Preview #1
The first cinéma vérité study of ethnic Gypsies (Roma) in the United States, this award-winning 1975 documentary depicts the culture and traditions of a Kalderas tribe of Gypsies living and working in Los Angeles. The film contrasts traditional customs with contemporary modes of survival in this often-stereotyped and misunderstood minority. It features first-person interviews with Roma, narration by Roma, and a wide range of activities: a Saint’s Day celebration (Slava), Easter, Christmas, wedding, fortune-telling, car repairing, music making, and dancing. The wedding of two children, both thirteen years old, seems to belie any discussion of change; but life has changed for Gypsy-Americans. There is less wandering, children are receiving better educations, and men’s and women’s roles are adapting more and more to American lifestyles. Nevertheless, the old attitudes of prejudice, antagonism and fear that have plagued ethnic Gypsies for centuries remain, while the newer demands of modern American society must also be confronted.
Gypsies: The Other Americans DVD available at:
The Romani & Indian Flag
Flag of the Romani people:
The flag consists of a background of blue and green, representing the heavens and earth, respectively. The flag also contains a red chakra, or spoked wheel, in the centre, representing the itinerant tradition of the Romani people.
Flag of India:
Gandhi first proposed a flag to the Indian National Congress in 1921. The flag was designed by Pingali Venkayya, an agriculturist from Machilipatnam. The original design Gandhi was presented with included two colours, red for the Hindus, and green for the Muslims. In the centre was a traditional spinning wheel, symbolising Gandhi’s goal of making Indians self-reliant by fabricating their own clothing. The design was then modified to include a white stripe in the centre for other religious communities, and provide a background for the spinning wheel. Subsequently, to avoid sectarian associations with the colour scheme, saffron, white and green were chosen for the three bands, representing courage and sacrifice, peace and truth, and faith and chivalry respectively. A modified version of the Swaraj flag was chosen; the tricolour remained the same saffron, white and green. However, the charkha was replaced by the Ashoka Chakra representing the eternal wheel of law.
(excerpts from Wikipedia)
Through & through despite the centuries that have passed and the culture that has diffused Indians & Romani are connected so much deeper than origins, as the chakras present in both flags show.
Herdeljezi in California (2005)
This is a short story on Herdeljezi Festival 2005, filmed in Sebastopol, California. Main topic is humanitarian work done by Voice of Roma in helping Romany communities in Kosovo.
Project was produced for Voice of America, Serbian service and is in Serbo-Croatian and English.
Page 1 of 4