1:24 PMGypsies and travellers
(This is a post I wrote on another board in response to an appalling programme about Irish travellers called 'My Big Fat |
All Romanies are travellers but NOT all travellers are Romanies.
A bit like all Native Americans are Americans but not all Americans are Native Americans, or all English are British but not
all British are English.
The traveller community consists of several sub-groups, only ONE (or, if I'm generous, two) has the right to be called 'gypsies.'
The largest component (at least in the British Isles) is Irish tinkers. They speak English and Shelta Thari (a kind of debased
Gaelic), do NOT live by the leis prala and do NOT observe our rituals about cleanliness.
One of the worst insults in Romani is caling someone mokardi or marime. The words mean specifically 'unclean' or 'dirty.'
Another thing that is very important to a true Roma is chachimos - . truth.
After the Irish tinkers the next biggest group is Scottish travellers. They are sort of a half-way house; they've got SOME of our ways but not that many. They're more like us than the Irish lot are.
There are also the diddakai - people with Romani blood in them but very diluted by intermarriage with non-gypsies. They keep some of the way but not enough.
There are also the 'crusties' - the New Age Travellers - who arose in the late 70s and are basically hippies who want to live the
lifestyle. Funnily enough, on the whole (partly because it was created by two Romanies and a 'lost Rom') - they are better and
have more understanding of the leis-prala than the tinkers.
Most people rarely come into contact with a true Romaui because they are secretive people (the result of centuries of persecution)
and we don't like to attract attention. On the other hand I've been pleased and encouraged to see how our people have taken to the internet and used it as a means of communication with a wider audience.
Appleby Horse Fair is fun. That is a real mixture of travelling folk with all the sub-groups represented, including the true Romanies.
On the programme itself only two genuine Romanies appeared. The rest were Irish tinkers or English chorodies (an untranslatable
Romani word - the nearest equvalent in English would be something like 'white trash' or 'trailer trash.')
So anyone who watched the show and imagined that is how the Roma live needs to forget that idea straight away! We are NOT jenishers - travellers - and it really drives us mad when people call THEM gypsies!
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