The Day of Romas is observed in Kosovo on April 8 every year. The day honors the people and culture of the Romani and the issues they face. About 12 million Roma in Europe are still suffering from poverty and exclusion. The existence of widespread anti-Gypsyism sentiments reinforces and makes their economic and social deprivation more precarious. These inequalities persist despite ongoing efforts at national, European, and international levels to curb anti-Roma and anti-traveler prejudice, discrimination, and crimes. The Day of Romas brings hope for a future where no Roma is discriminated against due to their ethnicity and birth.
History of Day of Romas
The Day of Romas was officially declared in Poland in 1990 when the fourth World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union was held. It was one of the first major international meetings of Romani representatives.
The day is devoted to Europe’s largest ethnic minority, the Roma, who also suffer regular discrimination and isolation. This observance also focuses on Roma’s history, culture, language, and aspirations. The study and promotion of Roma culture and language and the protection of minority languages is a concern, especially in the E.U. The E.U. has offered support for the preservation of the Roma language, which is already endangered. Funds are allocated to the study of Roma history, culture, and language, while some E.U. Member States have also conducted programs that include teaching Roma culture in schools.
The history of the Roma is one of the migration waves, deportations, and interments. The community witnessed mass migrations in 18th century Spain and France during the Second World War due to the forced assimilation by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Roma faced the worst atrocities during the Roma Holocaust — the extermination of Roma by the Nazis. Sadly this is something the wider public is still largely unaware of. After the Second World War, the communist regimes forced the Roma to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and settle in segregated areas. The Roma were forced to live in settlements with poor living conditions, thereby perpetuating their centuries-long discriminative treatment. Discrimination continues against the Roma, but there’s an ongoing struggle to restore their dignity and ensure equality for the community.
Day of Romas timeline
The first major meeting of Romani representatives takes place.
It creates teaching material on Roma culture, language, and history.
It prohibits discrimination against any community based on their language.
It is established and stresses the fundamental rights of the Roma people.
Day of Romas FAQs
What are Roma people known for?
The Roma are an ethnic group who have lived in Europe since their migration from India over 1,000 years ago. Roma cultural heritage includes a rich oral tradition, art forms such as flamenco, an emphasis on family, and Romanës, the Roma language.
Why did the Roma leave India?
The Romani began to leave India about 1,000 years ago. They probably left to escape the invasion of Afghan General Mahmud of Ghazni early in the 11th century.
When did the Roma come to Europe?
The Romani people arrived in West Asia and Europe around the 14th century. Since the 19th century, some Romani people have also migrated to the Americas.
How to Observe Day of Romas
Learn the history
The most important way to celebrate the Day of Romas is by learning the history of the Roma people. Read up about Roma language, culture, and food.
If you live in Europe or the E.U., urge your local councilman to take action on discrimination against the Roma people. Introduce and sign petitions and join the fight for justice on Day of Romas.
Spread the word
Not many know about the Roma Holocaust or the discriminatory practices that the Roman people continue to face to date. Upload posts about the Day of Romas on your social media accounts to raise awareness.
5 Fascinating Facts About The Romas
The Romas originated in India
Linguistic analysis suggests that the Roma language has its roots in Hindi.
There are 12 million Romas worldwide
They are one of the largest ethnic minorities.
They faced horrible persecution
An estimated two million Romas were killed in concentration camps.
Roma music is fascinating
It is influenced by jazz, bolero, and flamenco music.
They continue to be discriminated against
As recently as 2013, 10,000 Romas were expelled from France.
Why Day of Romas is Important
It promotes equality for everyone
The Day of Romas is committed to ushering in a future that is equal for all races and ethnicities, especially the Romas. This is a fight against discriminatory practices and ensuring that the Romas are guaranteed dignity.
It makes us proactive citizens
The day makes us realize the discriminatory practices that unequally affect certain races and ethnicity. It’s a time to not only stand up for the Romas but for every community that is suffering from prejudice.
It shows an alternate history
It is shameful that something as tragic as the Roma Holocaust is not yet public knowledge. Day of Romas brings us alternate history and encourages us to seek stories that are often overlooked.
Day of Romas dates