Roma Culture

Roma Culture

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Roma Culture

Romas, or Gypsy, have traveled all over the world starting from India, which is considered their origin however not proven, and ending up as far as Spain where their customs have influenced and changed modern day societies. These diasporas were not deliberate but rather forced on them due to their beliefs. Stereotypes have been created to make Romas look like thieves, which is where the phrase, “I’ve been gypped,” comes from. Gypsies were and still are easy to point out due to their dark skin and jet black hair making it easier to discriminate. They traveled to Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain looking for a place to call home, but no one would accept them. Some even persecuted and murdered them like in the Holocaust. However, what is most interesting is how their miseries and suffering have made them into one of the strongest cultures to survive so long. One of their biggest strengths is music. Without it, they might not still be here today.
Music by definition is “vocal or instrumental sounds possessing a degree of melody, harmony, or rhythm.” However, to the Roma people music is a form of identity, of beauty, of culture. The music heard from these people will tell a story, whether of their troubled past or just pure entertainment. Every person in the Roma society is familiar with or can chant the heartfelt lyrics and melodies that have been orally passed on or created as generations have come and gone. Each country and generation had a different style of music. Yet, they all put a lot of pride and work for each gathering and chant. All sorts of instruments, mostly percussion, are played by extremely talented artists. Certain attires are prepared for the dances that go with each song. The women would normally do most of the dancing. They would decorate themselves with beautiful linens and jewelry and attach thimbles and tambourines to their body. The men usually would play the instruments. Both sexes would sing, even the little children. A key part in keeping their identity so strong is that the parents are strict on teaching their children the music and dance. Their lyrics tell stories about horrible times or hope for freedom in the end. These styles of music create a kind of passion and thrive to continue. Their music kept them alive.
One of the most interesting things about the Roma society is how their music, being so sacred to them, changed other societies.

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