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There is a fairly large people who still do not have their own state - the Gypsies. April 8 is the International Day of the Roma.
At the same time, the date is quite historical - it was on this day in 1871 that the First World Gypsy Congress was held in London. Then the Roma declared themselves a nation without territory, adopted their own anthem and a single flag.
The Roma are such an unusual people that the lack of information about them gives rise to myths, mostly negative. I must say that these stereotypes live not only in Russia, but also in other countries of the world.
Roma live mainly in Central and Eastern Europe. In Western Europe, it is generally accepted that Roma live mainly in the Balkans and further east. It even got to the point that some residents of the countries of the former Yugoslavia, as well as Hungarians and Romanians, are directly called gypsies. In fact, it sounds like an insult. The figures show that most Roma live not in this region, but in the United States - about a million people. The second largest is Brazil, there are at least 600 thousand Roma. Only they are followed by Romania and Bulgaria. But the Roma are not the majority of the population there, 500 and 300 thousand, respectively. In Russia, during the 2010 census, 220 thousand people called themselves gypsies.
Gypsies are a nomadic people. This is a very ancient myth that is firmly rooted in the brains of Europeans. Gypsies are presented as a people whose home is a wagon. Even children all over the world will call gypsies the most nomadic people. However, for several centuries there have been no natural mass migrations of Roma. Movement can be facilitated, perhaps, by war. And this myth appeared in the Middle Ages, when the gypsies really roamed. Since then, the legend has been passed down from generation to generation.
There are many children in Roma families. This myth has a similar origin to the story of constant nomadism. About a hundred years ago, Roma were indeed prolific. But it is worth remembering how many children our great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers had. Most often, at least three. In those days, such a norm was common and not only for Roma. Now the gypsies give birth, like most other peoples. One or two children in a family are considered the norm. Naturally, there are families with many children, but this happens with any nation.
Gypsies steal children. Often parents even frighten their children with this. The kids are taught that the gypsies take away those who misbehave. This is a rather ancient myth. And his explanation is simple. The fact is that the gypsies themselves sometimes give birth to not quite classic dark-haired and curly-haired children. There are also fair ones, no different from an ordinary Slav or a European. This gave rise to gossip and gossip. It happens that for some reason a child is adopted by distant Gypsy relatives. Naturally, babies are not much like their "parents". Such discrepancies give rise to whispers, suspicions and rumors.
Gypsies are ruled by barons. People quite logically assume that if the Roma do not have a rigid state structure or its equivalent, then someone is in control of them. Certain authoritative men, barons with power, were appointed to this role. This is also a rather ancient myth. It is connected with the fact that in ancient times, when it was necessary to solve important matters with the authorities (legal aspects, interaction with the police), the tabor nominated its representative, the baron, for this. This was the most authoritative person. But in any other situation, the leader is simply not needed, and the Gypsies solve the main issues with the help of general meetings. Today there are no more barons left in the classical sense. But Europeans still believe that some authority figure controls all Roma. Today it is simply not relevant. After all, Roma are socialized into the society of the country where they live. They obey the state like any ordinary citizen. It does not do without the marginals, but is it possible to judge all the people by them?
Gypsies all over the world share a common culture. This myth is confirmed by the saying "Gypsy - he is Gypsy in Africa." However, this statement is not entirely accurate. Indeed, there is a single Gypsy language belonging to the Indo-European group, but the Gypsies themselves are different in different places. Even the language itself has many dialects and branches, depending on geography. And culture can hardly be considered a single one. After all, it is influenced by the religion of the country where the gypsies live. For example, Russian gypsies are Orthodox, and Crimean ones are already Muslims. Croatian Roma are Catholics, and Palestinians are again Muslims. It is generally accepted that wherever a gypsy is, he will still look for a connection with his relatives. In fact, this people cannot be called one. Within the boundaries of one state, common features and ties are still observed, but there is no international community.
Roma do not serve in the army. It is quite logical to assume that if this nation does not have its own state, then what is the point of defending someone else's? It sounds rational, and in the army itself it is really not that easy to find gypsies. They themselves call themselves a peace-loving people. However, it should be understood that there are not so many gypsies - 10 million worldwide, while in Russia there are only 200 thousand. How many of them are men of military age? History, however, proves that the Roma serve very well. A typical example is their presence in active units of Napoleon's army. At the same time, the myth of the pacifism of the Roma appeared - the French representatives of the people fraternized with the Spanish. Other examples that debunk the myth are the presence of gypsies in the army of the Ottoman Empire, in the French army of Louis XIV. But there was definitely no mass desire for murder among this people.
Gypsies are exclusively engaged in theft, fortune telling and selling drugs. This statement did not appear out of nowhere. Previously, Roma did steal, but simply because they simply did not have enough food. Dislike for the Roma prevented them from adapting to the local population and living in peace. So there was essentially the only way out, a similar situation with drugs. But is it only the gypsies who sell them? Every family has its own freaks. The addiction to fortune telling has long roots. And here the desire to earn money is the basis. But since the gypsies readily guess, people began to think that they all know how to do it. The myth was cultivated by the Europeans themselves - they ascribed supernatural powers to the gypsies who were unlike other. The most resourceful representatives of the people immediately used this stereotype.
All gypsies can play guitars. Works of the 19th century show gypsies as musicians in red shirts with guitars, and even with bears. The whim of the landowners of that time gave rise to a modern myth. But believing him is like believing that black people everywhere rap and play basketball and Brazilians play football. Gypsies are no more addicted to guitars than Russians. Hungarian gypsies generally prefer the violin to the guitar.
Roma live in closed communities. This is also an ancient, strong and international myth. According to him, all the gypsies stand for each other and live very closely. In such communities, it is impossible to hide something from each other. Previously, it really was. But for more than a dozen years this statement has lost its truth. Although it is sometimes found that several Roma families live nearby. But this is explained only by the mentality and common interests. The Roma have long ceased to have any kind of communal system, and in developed countries they have already forgotten to think about it.
There is the first and only gypsy theater - Romain. In 1931, this theater appeared, but it is still dishonest to call it the first and only one. Back in 1887-1889, a gypsy choir worked under the direction of Nikolai Shishkin. The troupe performed in theaters, staged operettas. Such a story was unprofitable for the Bolsheviks, who ascribed to themselves the rise of the people from darkness. And in the world today there are at least three gypsy theaters, not counting the numerous studios.
During the Inquisition, Roma were massively burned at the stake. This myth is several centuries old. The researchers wrote that the gypsies suffered almost the most in those dark times - they were burned for divination and fortune-telling. Some people so want to see this people eternally persecuted and offended. However, studying the sentences of the Spanish courts, you can find that only less than a couple of dozen gypsies were accused of witchcraft. And this is for several centuries! But 20-30 thousand people were executed in the country by the Inquisition. The situation is similar in other countries. If you start to study the documents, it turns out that either the Roma were not tried, or they were completely released. In the same Germany, about one hundred thousand witches were executed according to the Caroline Code, but according to its articles, fortune-tellers were not responsible if they were accused only of predicting fate.