Sociology Index

Romani Customs and Traditions

Romany or Romanis are of of Indo-Aryan origin who arrived in Europe in the 14th century. They had the ability to adjust to outside groups and in some places the Romanis were dominant enough to assimilate outsiders. The Romanis lost their discrete identity in some places. Romany chal is a male Gypsy. Romany chi or Romany chai, is a Gypsy girl. Romany rye is a man who associates with Gypsies but is not a Gypsy. Romanis adapt to the requirements of their surroundings but they fear that over time integration could lead to assimilation, and the eventual disappearance of Romaniya.

Romanis had a composite population from the very beginning, with different ethnic groups brought together during their initial great migration from India. In Romani culture, as in India, a woman is considered "un-pure" or marime because of her menstrual cycle. Romany population and the Romani people came into being outside of India, but the various ethnic elements began inside India. Over one million Romani people live in the United States.

For Roma, death is a senseless, unnatural occurrence that should anger those who die. They are also worried about the possible revenge the dead, or muló, might seek against those who remain in the world of the living. Nomadic Roma traditionally move the death bed in front of the tent or caravan, usually under an improvised canopy. A small band is sometimes hired to play marches, going ahead of the coffin. This band is followed by the widow or widower, other mourning relatives and a priest. As this procession enters the cemetery, the sobbing of the mourners increases as is the practice in many parts of India.