Gypsies in America

Topics: Romani people, Roma, Croatia Pages: 7 (2025 words) Published: November 30, 2008
The first and to date only reliable assertion of the origin of word Gypsy for the members of “specific” group, dates back to 1068. At that time the Georgian monah st. George Antonski, from the monastery of Iviron (Greece) reports to his people that on the mountain of Athos in the time between 1001 and 1026 a group of “Athiganos” arrived. The word Athigatos or Acinkan in Greek would be “untouchable”. Different synonyms of this word were used later as name for “that” nation around Europe. In literature we find: latin-Cingarus, Turkey-Cingeneler, France-Tsiganes, Germany-Zinger, Russia-Cjganji, Hungary-Ciganjiok, Italy-Zingari, Spain-Gitanos.

In Croatia the name is Cigani and in Dubrovnik Republic Jedupi or Egyptians. The name Egyptians was probably brought to Dubrovnik by Italians (Greece was at the time under Venetian rule) where together with the former name Jedupi for Gypsies the name Egyptians started to be used.

On 08. April 1791 the first World congress of Gypsies was held in London. Important decisions and accepting of Roma flag, official anthem and official languages were brought. It was decided that the flag consists of two basic colours that symbolises everlasting wandering of Roma. The green is a symbol of boundless natural space as freedom of movement. The blue is symbol of sky and in the middle of the flag is a wheel which marks the everlasting journey of Roma. The official anthem is famous Roma song “Gelem, Gelem” and as official language Lovari Roma language was accepted.

In the same time as unique world wide used name for Gypsies was term “Htom”, which in Gypsy-lovari language means a man. Sound ht does not exist in graphic system therefore for the sake of easy writing this sound is spelled as sound R. Therefore instead of word Htom because of impossibility to write ht word Rom appeared. That is how they are today called in Croatia. Nobody should feel humiliated or degraded also with the name Gypsy if it is said with proper intonation, which means for male - Ciganin and female – Ciganka.

Legends about Roma
There are several legends on beginning of Gypsies which have been conveyed for centuries by word of mouth. They are very interesting.

One legend says that when the God was giving the land to people he first called Gypsies and offered them to chose a place where their land is going to be. However, they refused not knowing that the God will offer the same to other nations. Later on when they realized that all the people received land from the God and turned them into their states they came in front of the God and asked him to be given a land.The God said that he has given all the land and none is left and they will be destined to live without land because when he offered them to choose land they did not want it. At the end he took pity on them and promised them to help them by giving them wisdom and abilities that are superior to other people in order to be able to find their way around the world as they will forever travel, not being able to settle down and everywhere will be accepted as foreigners.

The second legend says that Roma are sons of Cain. Some researches that interpreted the text from the Book of Genesis (Old Testament, the first book of Moses) found out this. They emphasise that the curse put on Abel’s brother Cain (“Cain” in Semitic languages means – blacksmith), If you try to farm the land, it won’t produce anything for you. From now on, you’ll be without a home, and you’ll spend the rest of your life wandering from place to place. (Genesis. 4,12) Also the Book of Genesis specifically talks about trades with which Cain’s sons were cursed and which traditionally are trades of Roma. We can therefore read: Lamech married Adah, then Zillah. Lamech and Adah had two sons, Jabal and Jubal. Their son Jabal was the first to live in tents and raise sheep and goats. Jubal was the first to play harps and flutes.

Lamech and Zillah had a son named Tubal Cain who made tools out of bronze...
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