History Of The Romani People

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The Roma, also called Romani people or gypsies, are an ethnic group, which appears most dominantly in Europe and America.
The Roma ethnicity is greatly divided into diverse subgroups. Amongst the most noted Roma subgroups are counted the Sinti, or Sindhi, and Kale, both situated in Central and Western Europe.

Even though the dialects spoken by Central and Eastern Roma subgroups and individual clans differ greatly in terms of vocabulary, they all belong to Romani, the general Roma language. Romani developed out of Hindi but has been independent from Indian languages ever since. It has never been standardised and hence does not possess any common written form.

As descendants of an Indian cast which main line of work were entertainment services,
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Hence, in more recent times, sedentary or half-sedentary Roma often worked as seasonal workers and unskilled labourers, with additional earnings from part-time entertainment work at fairs and diverse service offers as clairvoyants, magicians or fortune-tellers.
In the past, the Romani people usually lived and travelled in distinct groups, or clans, which consisted of one or more families and were usually led by a Vajda, the oldest man and preferably head of the largest family in the clan.

Despite of its Hindu ancestry, the Czech Roma community has practiced Christianity over the last few centuries.
What is more, most Bohemian and Moravian cultural and social customs, for example the free choice of a spouse, have been adopted by the Romani people.
However, men have generally more authority, respect and power in a traditional Roma household than females. Women gain respect and power as they get older and bear children. Additionally, family ties and extended family are very valued very highly in the Romani culture and social life.
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During their stay in the Byzantine Empire, the Roma were often described as "Atsinganoi". This later turned into the term Acigan, also Cigan in Bulgarian, Cikán in Czech and Zigeuner in German.

Although Europe has seen many large immigration waves of Romani people ever since the 9th century, the first written records of the arrival of the Roma community in Bohemia and Moravia only date back to the 13th century. Before that, Roma were largely unknown in Czech Lands.

It seems that at first the Romani were fairly respected and welcomed by the native population. Because of their dark skin tone, foreign looks and nomadic lifestyle, they were mistaken for Egyptian pilgrims.
At the time, devoted pilgrims were gladly received and housed in many pious Christian households, which might explain why the Roma did not shed more light on their origin but even spread stories and rumours about their Egyptian ancestry.
Since they were regarded as Egyptians, they were often called Egypcions, Egypsies or, simply
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