Gypsy Culture

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Gypsies are an ethnic group, scattered throughout Europe and North America, who maintain a nomadic way of life in industrialized societies. They migrated from Northern India in around the 14th century and pride themselves on maintaining all elements of traditional gypsy culture. The most significant differences between my life and that experienced by Gypsy adolescents are evident in their family life, gender roles, educations and traditions.

The family life of gypsies is very different from my own experiences. The gypsy community highly value family life and tradition. Family homes are usually composed of different family members. Parents and grandparents whose health is poor will live with the eldest daughter and her family. The unmarried children and adolescents continue to live with their parents until marrying . Traveler men are usually over twenty-one years of age when they marry, but their brides may be as young as twelve with the average being an adolescent, between the age of fifteen and eighteen. An exchange of money, in cash for the young man, is a tradition, not uncommon among the more affluent Traveler families. Without a large dowry to offer a boy's family, these girls must choose between the possibility of remaining unmarried for life or marrying outside the traveller group. Marriage between second cousins is allowed by Irish Travelers and is within the law of most southern states. Weddings are usually held after Christmas because of the likelihood of a large number of Travelers being in the villages for the holidays. The holidays provide the Travelers with a chance to arrange marriages and then to organise the Ceremony before the families return to the road. Traveler children from age five are socialised to their future roles in the community. The adolescent girls learn to take care of younger siblings or cousins, clean the home, and manage money. The adolescent boys begin helping their fathers in their occupations at an early age, often...
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