Roma people

ethnic group living mostly in Europe and the Americas

The Roma are an ethnic group found mainly in Europe. In English they are often called Gypsies. Some Roma consider "gypsy" a slur, some not. The old word Chingar is rarely in use. The Roma are people that originally came from the Indian subcontinent at the 1st - 2st century AD, and settled in Egypt. A DNA study by Indian and Estonian researchers shows that the Ancestor of the Roma people originate from the Chingar tribe of Northwest india of the Chandala (untouchable), Dalit community of their ancestral homeland.[1] They migrated as Traders via Roman Empire Egypt, through Asia Minor and finally to Europe. Today there are populations of Roma found all over Europe, although the largest populations are in Eastern Europe, in the Balkans, and their religions are: Eastern Christianity, Catholicism and Islam. Baptism by the Christian Roma (Dasikane) and Male Circumcision by the Muslim Roma (Horahane) are practiced. Their ancient religion was Hinduism[2] and Buddhism.[3] The majority of Romani people practise Endogamy Arranged marriage, only few Exogamy marriages are used. To marry a Gadjo (non Roma) is very seldom. Cousin marriage are prohibited.

Roma flag

There are various groups of Roma: the Roma of East European birth;[4] the Sinti in Germany and Manouches in France and Catalonia; the Kaló in Spain, Ciganos in Portugal and Gitans of southern France; the Romanichals of Britain, and the Romanlar in Turkey.[5]

The Romani language, is now an official language in many countries of Europe under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.[6]

Three Finnish Romani women in Helsinki, Finland, in 1930s.


A camp with Welsh Romanies near Swansea, 1953. (Title of photo: Gypsies camping.)

The 18th-century idea about the Indian birth of the Roma is based on the likeness between Romani[7] and languages spoken in the Indian subcontinent and is now supported by genetic evidence. The origins of the Roma were not known until 1763, when a theology student named Stefan Vali met Indian medical students. He noticed that they were physically similar to the Roma he saw in Hungary. He also noticed that they were using similar words.[8]

It is believed to have been around the 1st - 2st century AD, that the Ancestor of the Roma, the Chingari tribe, left the Indian subcontinent as Traders with Indo-Roman trade, via Arabian Sea through Roman Empire Egypt where they live for centuries and intermarried with Copt.[9] The Copt named them ⲣⲱⲙⲁ (man or human, also these people there) in Coptic language. Around the 15th century, the Roma reached the Balkans. From there, they dispersed through Europe. The first arrivals were well accepted. European people thought they were Christian pilgrims. The local people of Europe were fascinated by their nomadic way of life and their new sciences. The Roma were often recruited as Musician, horse trainers and circus artists. Roma were crossing Europe aboard large caravans which contained their luggage.[10]

During World War II, Roma people suffered from the Nazis' persecution and ethnic cleansing policies. Statistics show that about 500,000 Roms died in Nazi concentration camps.[11]


The early Ancestors of the Romani people was the nomadic Chingari Tribe, who belongend to the untouchably Chandala Group from Central India, who wandered as nomads to north-west india.

The Children born of low caste Shudra Men and high caste Brahmin womans were called Chandala and are untouchables as per Manusmriti, an ancient legal constitution text of Hinduism.


The Roma left a musical heritage. Guitars and violins are part of their traditions. They influenced musical styles in Europe, such as Belly dance, flamenco, rumba, jazz, etc.[10]

On 8 April 1971, the Roma nationality was legally recognized in Europe. Since this day, 8 April is the Roma national day.[12]


When the Yugoslav Wars was over at 2001, a small group of Christian and Muslim Balkans Roma, made there own Romani Folk Religion called Devlaism or in Romani language "Devleske Dīn", created from own Roma people Mythology & Folklore of Oral tradition, rites like male Circumcision and infant Baptism is practised too. They believe Devla is the universal God. Devla is the name of God in romani language, derived from Deva. This New religious movement is hold very secretly. There is no holy Books, or spiritual leaders. To be a member, you must be a Roma or partial Roma itself.


Even though they have been recognized, they still suffer from discrimination and Antiziganism. Some countries still apply discriminatory attitudes towards Roma, especially in workplaces and schools, where they are not accepted.[12]Their squatting communities irritate locals.[13] The Romani created an association in 1978 to defend their rights.[14]


  1. Nelson, Dean (3 December 2012). "European Roma descended from Indian 'untouchables', genetic study shows". The Telegraph.
  2. "Meet the Roma: 2,000 years ago, the first 'Indians' to go to Europe". The Indian Express.
  3. "Buddhism and the Romani".
  4. Morar B et al. 2004. Mutation History of the Roma/Gypsies. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 75:596–609.
  5. Kalaydjieva L, Gresham D, and Calafell F. 2001. BMC Medical Genetics , 2:5doi:10.1186/1471-2350-2-5
  6. "Patrin: A Brief History of the Roma". Archived from the original on 2012-03-25. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  7. "Patrin glossary". Archived from the original on 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  8. "Histoire et origine des Roms".
  9. Richard Salomon Journal of the American Society 1991.[1]
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Gitans, manouches et tsiganes : la route du Rom :".
  11. "Les persécutions et le génocide des Roms dans la seconde guerre mondiale - Presse fédéraliste".
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Compilhistoire - Roms, Gitans, Manouches et Tsiganes".
  13. "Expulsions des Roms : fascistes sous Sarkozy, mais humanitaires et normales sous Hollande". Riposte Laïque. 24 August 2012.
  14. "Union Romani Internationale - Union Romani Internationale".

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