Who Are the Roma People? Where Are Its Origins? Misidentification of Novels
Although both the histories and cultures of the Romani people, who are known to the public as “gypsies” in a humiliating way, are surrounded by stereotypes and misnomers, the most well known of these was Esméralda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is believed that most of the Roma people will be feared or avoided because of such images spread by the mass media’s misunderstanding of Roma people.
Romani people are often portrayed as thieves or crooks, especially due to their nomadic lifestyles and their unusual customs in the eyes of the Christian church in the early years of their migration. Nevertheless, the Romani migration history, their cultural persecution, local traditions, and strong family ties are probably the main reasons why they are so attractive to foreigners today.
From Novels to “Gypsies”
Who are the Roma? Where are their origins and where were they? Recent research has discovered that Romani culture has Indian roots. According to Ronald Lee’s research, although most Roma today live in Italy, Spain, and especially in Eastern Europe, linguistics and geneticists can quite confidently point to their Indian Roma origins, in short, that North-Central India is the original homeland of Roma. we can say.
However, this possible starting point should not mean that all Roma are the same. Just like any culture, there are certain differences between Roma. The collective ‘Roma’, influenced by various currents, have become individualized groups among themselves, just as all Indians are Native Americans but no tribes are exactly alike. We know that the Roma increased their population by immigrating from northern India to Iran in the 11th century and from there to Europe in the 1400s.
Therefore, there are possible groups of travelers who leave the collective title of ‘Roma’ with the traditions of Iran, Italy, or Romania depending on the immigration choices. In a consistently nomadic culture, it is almost impossible to get the exact population size in each country over the centuries. For this reason, census records are very reliable when only counting (or ignoring) ethnic groups traveling.
For example, the abundance of Roma in the 11th and 15th centuries in Iran and Europe is predicted as a dramatic increase in the Roma population; but certain numbers, both then and now, remain only estimates today. The uncertainty of the details probably also influenced the cultural stereotypes of the Roma “gypsies” prevalent today.
What is a Gypsy?
The term “Gypsy” has become synonymous with Roma in many regions. Generally, this term describes a traveler of exotic origin who is believed to have tricks on his arms and magical charms on his toes. Such misconceptions are based on the work that Roma achieve during their regular travels. Because nomads need jobs that they can carry with them or easily leave behind.
In this regard, the vast majority of these people were animal traders, animal tamers, repairmen, and musicians, while women worked for entertainment purposes in the shows by reading fortune-telling, selling drugs, begging. That being the case, after the persecution of witches, Jews, and other non-Christians spread rapidly everywhere in different parts of Europe, they hid the Roman name further in danger and darkness. Moreover, the term “gypsy” came to be used to insult the Roma by implying their unorthodox style (in the case of the Christian church).
Roman Families, Not Gypsies
The main reason for this is that such persistent distrust of Roman culture is felt by the Roma themselves and they continue to live as individual relative groups and extended families. Roma prefers their own rather than the non-Roma world when needed, with their laws, chiefs, and councils when necessary.
Although this observation is not entirely correct as it is not exactly true for every Roma individual or group, it remains an important part of many lives. Although urbanization caused the traditional rural customs of many Roma groups to gradually fade, only one thing continued to exist in all their migrations without losing importance: the concept of family.
Traditions such as indigenous music, marital customs, and justice systems have long survived, successfully passed down from generation to generation, through families – more verbal than written. Throughout the years of persecution and exile and despite persistent insults from one century to the next, the Romani people remained a tightly knit family community. For Romani people, whether they are Italian, Romanian, Russian, Scandinavian, or American, the strength of the family is extremely important for the continuation of the existing culture. Despite all this, it is extremely sad that the image of the Roma remains largely “rogues” and “gypsies” rather than being referred to as powerful families.