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Roma

Roma

The Roma, called the Gypsies, of Indian origin are the ethnic group, which has never had its own state. Until recently, this community has led a nomadic lifestyle, wandering in tabors. In Poland, the Gypsies appeared ca. 15th century. Since the 17th century until the times after World War II, the institution of the Gypsy King existed within the Roma community. He was their supervisor, representative in contacts with the state authorities. At the end of the 18th century, the Polish Roma were granted civil rights. During the occupation, the mass extermination of the community known as Porrajmos took place. Currently, members of four groups live in Poland: Bergitka Roma (living mainly in the Carpathian Foothills and Kłodzko Valley), Polish Roma (living in lowland areas of the country) and small groups of the Kalderash and Lovari originating in Romania and Moldova. The Roma did not have their own religion but accepted the dominant religion of the country in which they lived. Therefore, most Roma in Poland are Catholics, although a significant part of the Kalderash belongs to the Orthodox Church. A characteristic feature of the Roma spirituality is syncretism, i.e. combination, in this case, of the Catholic religion with their own traditions and beliefs. The Roma are superstitious, they believe in the power of various amulets, in magic and evil spirits. They have respect for the dead, because they believe that they are able to incarnate in the form of a human or animal. This was affected by Hindu mythologies, pagan legends and superstitions that the Roma learned while wandering around Asia and Europe. The spirituality of the Roma is tied to tradition, which is based on the family, authority of the elderly and developed kinship relationships. Therefore, all family celebrations, especially those related to the birth of a new family member or death, are strongly highlighted. The Roman Catholic festivals do not have such a great meaning. Nevertheless, every year the Nationwide Pilgrimage of Roma to the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows in Limanowa and to Jasna Góra is organised. The Polish Episcopate has designated the National Roma Priest, whose task is to catechise the community and to cooperate with associations and public authorities. In Małopolska, an important event related to the Roma spirituality is the Roma Memorial Tabor organised by the District Museum in Tarnów. For a few days, the Roma return to the track, wander across the towns and villages and visit the places of martyrdom of their nation of the times of World War II. The Tarnów Museum also has rich collections regarding the Romani culture and history. The International Days of Gipsy Culture wereorganized July 2013 in Krakow for the first time. The idea of the eventwas to introduce the traditions of this ethnic group to the touristsand citizens.

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