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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Historical Gypsy


The first gypsies claimed to be the Christian nobility of Egypt, who had abandoned their possessions in order to retain their faith when the Muslims gained power. They were believed for a good period.
However, linguistic evidence strongly demonstrates that they actually originated in India, and moved west, migrating through the middle east into Europe. Although the Gypsies call themselves 'Rom' and their language is known as'Romani', the Romani language has nothing in common with the language known as Romanian (which is a Romance language, derived from Latin and kin to French, Spanish, Italian, etc.). Romanibeen shown to be closely related to groups of languages and dialects (such as Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and Cashmiri) still spoken in India and of the same origin as Sanskrit.

They were often described as dark-skinned magicians, entertainers, smiths, horsebreakers and other skilled tradeworkers. There is a good possibility that they originated belly dancing.

They lived in tents. Ggypsy wagons are a recent introduction. The wagons date from the late 18th early 19th century. Before that, they travelled by foot and horseback, setting up tents by night. The classic gypsy caravan wagons were usually built by commercial carriage shops for the gypsies, since they took a lot of woodworking and other equipment.

Reliable period info on gypsies is sadly lacking- the only people writing about them were the ones who wanted rid of them at all cost. I think it was in the fifteenth century that the pogroms against them really got rolling...Because gypsies have remained very secluded and secretive, cultural "tainting" has been comparatively low, and modern practices may well reflect medieval practices.

In France it was thought that these same people came from Bohemia and thus they were called 'Bohemes'.... [thus began the English word "bohemian"]. There are Elizabethan laws against dressing or acting "as an Egyptian," which from the descriptions seem to be what we would call 'gypsies.' It is quite possible that the word "gypsy" came into use as an abreviation of "Egyptian" somewhat later than the actual arrival of the Rom in England.
The Romnichels, or Rom'nies, began to come to the United States from England in 1850. Their arrival coincided with an increase in the demand for draft horses in agriculture and then in urban transportation. Many Romnichels worked as horse traders, both in the travel-intensive acquisition of stock and in long-term urban sales stable enterprise. After the rapid decline in the horse trade following the First World War, most Romnichels relied on previously secondary enterprises, "basket-making," including the manufacture and sale of rustic furniture, and fortune telling.

The Rom arrived in the United States and Canada from Serbia, Russia and Austria-Hungary beginning in the 1880s, as part of the larger wave of immigration from southern and eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Primary immigration ended, for the most part, in 1914, with the beginning of the First World War and subsequent tightening of immigration restrictions. Many in this group specialized in coppersmith work, mainly the repair and refining of industrial equipment used in bakeries, laundries, confectioneries and other businesses. The Rom, too, developed the fortune-telling business in urban areas.

The Ludar, or "Rumanian Gypsies," emigrated to North America during the great immigration from southern and eastern Europe between 1880 and 1914. Most of the Ludar came from northwestern Bosnia. Upon their arrival in North America they specialized as animal trainers and show people, and indeed passenger manifests show bears and monkeys as a major part of their baggage. Only a handful of items covering this group have been published, beginning in 1902. The ethnic language of the Ludar is a form of Romanian. They are occasionally referred to as Ursari in the literature.

Gypsies from Germany, generally referred to in the literature as Chikeners (Pennsylvania German, from German Zigeuner), sometimes refer to themselves as "Black Dutch." (While the term "Black Dutch" has been adopted by these German Gypsies, it does not originate with this group and has been used ambiguously to refer to several non-Gypsy populations.) They are few in number and claim to have largely assimilated to Romnichel culture. In the past known as horse traders and basket makers, some continue to provide baskets to US Amish and Mennonite communities. The literature on this group is very sparse and unreliable.

The Hungarian (or Hungarian-Slovak) musicians also came to this country with the eastern European immigration. In the United States they continued as musicians to the Hungarian and Slovak immigrant settlements, and count the musical tradition as a basic cultural element.

The Irish Travelers immigrated, like the Romnichels, from the mid to late nineteenth century. The Irish Travelers specialized in the horse and mule trade, as well as in itinerant sales of goods and services; the latter gained in importance after the demise of the horse and mule trade. The literature also refers to this group as Irish Traders or, sometimes, Tinkers. Their ethnic language is referred to in the literature as Irish Traveler Cant.

The present population of Scottish Travelers in North America also dates from about 1850, although the 18th-century transportation records appear to refer to this group. Unlike that of the other groups, Scottish Traveler immigration has been continuous. Also unlike the other groups, Scottish Travelers have continued to travel between Scotland and North America, as well as between Canada and the United States, after immigration. Scottish Travelers also engaged in horse trading, but since the first quarter of the 20th century have specialized in itinerant sales and services.

Much of this information came from the Gypsy Lore Society.

40 comments:

Gypsy said...

Hello,

I am the Creator of Ye Olde Witches Brew Magazine and wanted to know if I may have permission to use this information on an article being written about Gypsies for Our Ostara/Beltane Issue. I will put proper credit, your information and links to your blog if you allow me to. The Gypsy Lore Society can not be found on the net as of the present. Thank you so much~

Blessings,
Gypsy~

Two Feathers said...

Yes, certainly you have my permission to use information in your magazine. Blessings.

Gypsy said...

Thank You so much!~

Roberta Oliveira said...

Hello,
I'd like to take gypsy magic classes and I was wondering if you'd be able to give me any recommendation. I'd like to take them during this upcoming summer in Europe or US(short term class in July/Aug). I kindly appreciate any direction. Thank you!

Brishen Nehemiah said...

Me and my brother Bica teach a private class out of or home in Moldova. We use our donkey stables to hold classes. We have been studying the gypsy ways for some time now and love to impart our knowledge on others. The class is free of charge (we have no need money) Would this be of interest to you Ms. Roberta Oliveira?
Blessings to all

gypsychic said...

hello,
i too am interested in learning as much as i can about gyspy and its magic. I am currently living in lemoore California. is there any possibility i can get help in this matter?

Anonymous said...

hello , i am a english gypsy, i am confused about the magic thing, no one i know does any kind of magic, my great grandmother and my grandmother did read fortunes, but no magic....then they got saved and filled with the holy ghost, jesus christ and they stopped fortune telling, but again i have never heard magic mentioned in all the stories of heard of heritage, just hard working people trying to make a living for their families, family is very important..... thank you,

Melissa said...

Hi, I just stumbled upon this site, and read this article. I wanted to read more, but it looks like your reference to The Gypsy Lore Society no longer works. Is there any up to date sites with Gypsy Lore?
Thanks!

Gypsy Feathers said...

I'm sorry but I haven't as yet found a site comparable to the Gypsy Lore Society. If, and when I do, I'll post it here.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Gypsy lore, customs, magic, and history, keep this site bookmarked. There is a lot of information yet to be posted, and I think that eventually this might even be the "go to" place for information about gypsy life in the old days.

Sazhrah said...

anonymous,
I wouldn't begin to claim that all Roma Gypsy practice magic just as not all Roma Gypsy are coppersmiths. Some have adopted the craft through familial experiences and others have found a "calling" to it.

I come for two different Roma Gypsy families. One denounces any sort of magic dealing or fortune tellings, they were catholic and simply coppersmiths. The otherside deals heavily with it but never called it "magic" they simply referred to it as "the old ways" and they were dancers and musicians.

Your family just may have been the ones who didn't deal with it. and the was probablly done generations before you were born.

good luck in searching though.

Ms.liquideyeliner said...

My great,great, grandmother was a Spanish Rom, her husband died, and she went mad and resided in trees, could this a rom curse? And what is the role of "Satan" in the lives of gypsies? I have Rom ancestry but no one likes to talk about (as most of them are know "born again christians")
they deny alot in themselves. Quite sad actually.

outborn motor said...

hey there. im a 30 fem in the uk. i have always known that there was romany gypsy and spainsh blood both on my father's side. ive had a particularly 'toxic' background, but from an early age i was drawn to crystals and things that we 'can't see' i now feel i have 'retrieved' enuf of myself, to know that it is this 'gypsy instinct' that resides in me; it is who i am, & did indeed save my life, on more than one occassion! i have always been independant and realising i will never work for anyone, i will make my way with crafts and healing(and maybe my wit;)through this life. this i beleive, is a true passage of the 'gypsy' and for this i am ever thankful na'maste.

outborn motor said...

hey there. im a 30 fem in the uk. i have always known that there was romany gypsy and spainsh blood both on my father's side. ive had a particularly 'toxic' background, but from an early age i was drawn to crystals and things that we 'can't see' i now feel i have 'retrieved' enuf of myself, to know that it is this 'gypsy instinct' that resides in me; it is who i am, & did indeed save my life, on more than one occassion! i have always been independant and realising i will never work for anyone, i will make my way with crafts and healing(and maybe my wit;)through this life. this i beleive, is a true passage of the 'gypsy' and for this i am ever thankful na'maste.

Flower Spy said...

this is facsinating-- thank you fellow gypsy lover~

Helena Zahara said...

My name is Helena Zahara and I am designer of Zahara's Gypsy Tea. I want to thank you for your informative web page, it is very good. There needs to be more info to take stigma off gypsy. Thank you so much. I have a line of hand blended herbal and spice teas that come with Gypsy Blessing. I am working on a tea for pain and a tea for weight loss. I have beautiful star shaped tea balls and evil eye pendents. I am working on healing blends for many problems. If anyone is interested in tea contact me at http://zaharasgypsytea.com.

Nathalie said...

Hello,

My name is Nathalie and I have always been fascinated with the gypsy culture. I do have experience with tarot cards and the gypsy way of life but would like to know more about it. I want to know if there are other people with my kind of interests towards gypsy magic that I could get in contact with to inhance our knowledge. I also wanted to know if there is a way to know if you have special fortune telling abilities or how to increase it.

OnceInspired said...

I noticed in the comments that someone mentioned the link to Gypsy Lore Society wasn't working. Is it possible that it's linking to this organization? http://www.gypsyloresociety.org/home If so, it's now a .org and not a .com. If not, sorry to bother you!

Two Feathers said...

Thanks! The link has been updated.

Libra Witch said...

I have some questions about gypsy charms and magic. I'm in the Rom/gypsy guild for the St. Louis Ren Faire and because our Ren Faire is one of the few educational Faires in North America. I'm looking for a few charms, potions etc to show the Ren Faire patrons what the Rom did and explain what they believed and how they did it. I have quite a few spell books but very few have anything Rom in them and if they do they're more of a sexual nature...like how to keep your husband faithful...and not really fit to demonstrate to schools and Universities.

Any help is appreciated.

Blessed Be!

Two Feathers said...

Libra Witch - thanks for your interest - I'll see what i can come up with.

We do have a variety of authentic Rom spells - I'll go through and tag them with Romany Spells and Magicks.

Bright Blessings!

Didikoi said...

Hi, I am new to all of this and found this area by trying to find out more information on anything related to romany people, culture, history...etc. If anyone has any good websites or just cares to talk, i have a million questions to ask!!

thank you

Laurien Rowan said...

My family are croation roma, and most of the family won't even acknowledge our heritage. My grandparents were trying to protect us by burying our would not let us hear them speaking old world language. Only a few even know about the sight & healing lineage in my family & keep the techniques and traditions alive, honouring our ancestors and our family commitment to service. I share the work on fb group- Intuitive Information, soon on intuitiveinformation.com and randomactsofintuition.com

Laurien Rowan said...

It is really lovely to be sharing this passion and curiocity with you all. Thankyou.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is brittany susmilch and I find gypsys very intresting. I can't stop thinking about them so I was looking gypsy up and came by here I know it might sound weaird but yea idk I would like to know more about were I come from..... any help would be nice sorry to take ur time

Didikoi said...

What is your question?

Anonymous said...

hello< my name is melissa i just recently found out that some of my family were romain gypsys me and my cousion are very interesting in learing more andmaybe having the option to faollw in our ansectors steps. is there any way to do this ora any one that can help me.

Anonymous said...

Gadze, What are you doing?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me anything about the 3 Gypsy otherworlds?

honza said...

Hey my name is Honza and I'm a Gypsy and I would like to know on where we really come from. Is it Egypt, Israel or India? If it's Egypt then on what time of the year was the slavery happened, because I heard that the Gypsies escaped and travelled to India and stood there for awhile. If it's India then... what language did the sister language spoke in India? And I would like to know why they have travelled to Europe in the 14 century and why does everyone dislike the Gypsies? I really would lilke 100% truth of us, not 100% lie.

Anonymous said...

I too am Gypsy; 1/4 Rom. My mother, who has been documented in news reports and at the Holocaust Museum in DC and was 1/2 Rom & 1/2 German, was a survivor of Auschwitz. It was never her belief that Rom came from India. She could never pinpoint where but was convinced that they had no cultural connection. Language similarities of some words isn't enough to make the conclusion that they originated in India when the spiritual and cultural traditions, which are deeper ingrained in a culture than its language, do not share any similarities. I spent much time myself trying to figure this out then came upon the only info thus far, that appears completely logical. I suggest you read http://www.imninalu.net/Roma.htm and see if it feels right to you. I still haven't researched the info on this site for myself either.

Anonymous said...

I thank you for being so interested in my pple .. we are not thieves or magicians we do not practice magic our ancestors did do fortune telling but that's it ... we are all born again christians we have good jobs and go to school .. god bless my romany people !

Anonymous said...

here! here! It often baffles me how news programs can get away with saying things like "the gypsy's are in town for their reunion, please watch out for scams." This was on the news in Cincinnati. My brother was also laying floors for a women in an upscale neighborhood in Cincy. She asked him to close the garage door because her neighbor told her that the gypsies were in town. My brother (1/8 rom) turned around and told the woman to "Hold On Now" and explained who we really are. Of course she was embarrassed however, the next day, she asked him to close the door because the neighbor had seen a pack of wild dogs. My brother didn't skip a beat...he said "well, I don't have any wild dog in me so I guess that'll be alright." She closed the door on him and went back in the house. I mean, REALLY. All of us have jobs, are upstanding citizens, Christians, and wouldn't think of stealing or conning anyone. GEEZE

Day said...

You have quite a bit of information that is not correct in here, and information that is missing.

The "traveling Gypsies" came to be way after 1800, most Gypsies in Eastern Europe were slaves bound to the land before that. The first annotated presence of Gypsies on Romanian territory is 1428 (Moldova) and 1385 (Muntenia) when they are listed as "goods belonging to a monastery". They were freed from slavery between 1843 and 1855. That was the only time they could have started traveling, otherwise, any fugitive slave would be usually whipped to death.
Also, it's "Rudari" not "Ludari". East European Gypsies have different natsias that are denominated by their "trade", i.e. Ursari - bear dancers; Caldarari (Kalderash) - bucket makers; Lingurari - spoon makers; Aurari - goldsmiths, etc., the highest social position being the Aurari and the lowest the Cocalari (the ones that live with what they can scavenge from midden heaps and landfills, especially dead livestock).
Most Gypsy witchcraft in Eastern Europe nowadays is performed by women that proclaim themselves "White Christian witches".
A very important thing though, Gypsies will never teach a "gadjo" (foreigner) any of their customs and knowledge. Usually a mixed blood (Gypsy+gadjo) is considered a gadjo as well, and only in extremely exceptional cases any of the gadjo would receive any knowledge from the Gypsies.
On another topic, what I saw you presenting has some commonalities with Gypsy witchcraft, but there is a lot lacking and a lot of neo-pagan/wiccan/voodoo interference.

Anonymous said...

I will have to say your site is very well interesting but by far the truth about Romany Gypsies as i am part of a very traditional gypsy family and again no magic involved we believe in the lord and the devil, spirts etc. and fortune telling skills only if born with the gift but magic no we believe that magic is not to be used it is the devils doing

Anonymous said...

Well if your English and u burn dimes and salt or shoes to get the moans off that's magic my dear

Vikingrite said...

I am new..I love what I am reading ...I would love some Gypsy classes but I live in KY...HELP...

Vikingrite said...

I am Viking/Scottish by birth..healer and High Priestess of this Life...I am here to learn...I respect all..I am just here to learn of my past..I would love information...that is all thank you...with much respect...be blessed....

Drali Afrohealer said...

These people seems they were not liked because of their ability to perform black magic but i wonder if their legacy still lives up to day.What book can i read if I want a clue on their mgic spells especially black magic love spells and white magic love spells

Anna Ohms said...

I think that they are amazing culture? I would prefer to always have them or in good binding of well behave intelligent people. Well to be honest my grandpa was half white & half german on the other hand my grandma was half native american & half hawiian. My last name is German (Ohms). All the more the curiousity of what the chance of that in family histroy???????

Anonymous said...

origin of roma people based on DNA analysis.
http://www.livescience.com/25294-origin-romani-people.html

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