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An Introspective Look At The Romani People And Their Culture

1092 words - 5 pages

The Romanichal have been in America since the middle of the 17th Century due to persecution and enslavement in Europe. Most countries in Europe had passed anti-Gypsy legislation, which prevented them from doing business or settling down and owning land, this combined with other types of persecution, caused the Romani to flee Europe. (Bokt, RomanyJib, 2014) Most of their traditions are passed down verbally because they are a nomadic people and travelled often, they never wrote books about their history because they had to bring all their possessions with them everywhere they went. (Kiger, 2013) Today, the Romani are trying to start records of their history to be passed down to their ancestors.
Family is very important to the Romani people and there is a very specific hierarchy within the family unit. Once a couple gets married, the woman joins her husband’s family. The husband’s father is the highest authority, followed by his sons and his wife. The newest bride is at the bottom of the hierarchy and is expected to tend to her husband and her in-law’s needs until she has children of her own. (Bokt, RomanyJib, 2013) Children so revere their parents and grandparents that they care for them without question once they are adults. The family home usually consists of several generations living together, with the younger family members providing financial support and any care their older members may need. In turn, the older family members help with the children and provide emotional support for newlyweds. (Kiger, 2013)
When it comes to healthcare, many Romani people shun modern medicine. Their lifestyle and the way they were raised brought them closer to nature and distrustful of governments. Imagine being told that you cannot own land simply because you are a Romanichal or having your children taken away from you to be raised by a more “suitable” family? (Bokt, RomanyJib, 2013) Also, because of their nomadic lifestyle, the Romani people came to rely on natural remedies for illnesses and believed largely, that health was related to luck more than genetics or lifestyle. Many Romani people also rely on superstitions such as charms to ward off illness. (Debra Honer RN, 2004) Romani people may also be hesitant to seek medical care because of their strict views on personal hygiene. Romani people fear becoming polluted by outsiders and would see being in a hospital or doctor’s office as unclean, especially if there were examinations or testing done on specific parts of the body. For example, the lower half of the body is considered so unclean that many Romani wash pants and skirts separately from shirts. (Kiger, 2013)
Romani people didn’t and still don’t have access to healthcare. Poverty is prevalent among the Romani people because they are mostly self employed and rely on their learned talents for work. Jobs include, but are not limited to basket making, fortune telling, gardening and farming. (Ivanov, 2004) The lack of funds and also...

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