The Settled Modern Gypsy

Does it make me more a Gypsy if I live in a trailer, best still a wooden vardo, as the romantics would like to see, with the blazing yog outside? Does it make me less a Gypsy if I live in a house? The answer to both is NO.

Does it make me less a Gypsy if I work an ordinary job? Does it make me more a Gypsy if I live by the old ways and trades? Again the answer has to be and is, NO. Neither living in a kenna or in a trailer makes one more or less a Gypsy, a Romani, nor does it matter little what kind of occupation one follows. Being Romani, being Gypsy, has nothing to do with traveling, with an itinerant way of life (I hate the illogical and false use of the word 'nomadic' as we are NOT nomadic) but has everything to do with out ethnicity based on our ancestry and our Racial Origins.

While the Romanichals in the UK and Sinti and Roma in some other countries may, until recently, have traveled all the year or for most of the year in pursuit of work on farms, in the hop fields in Kent or for other work, many Sinti and Roma on the European mainland have been living in houses and flats, even their own farms, for generations, and only traveled, maybe, during the summer months. Many still had door-to-door trades such as knifegrinder or sales person with cutlery, linen, basket ware, etc. and some where horse traders but they all had a fixed base, be this a house, an apartment, or even farm, while some had just their own land where they stationed the caravans for when they did not travel and where they resided.

The East European Roma & Sinti, in the main, have been settled for many, many years, some in slavery, in Romani, for instance. In many cases they settled in wholly Gypsy settlements, whether they were of the Sinti groups that make up the Rom Polska, often falsely and deliberately thus, called Polska Roma, such as the Veshtike, Feldtike, Bergtike and Fortike Rom, who settled in small Gypsy enclaves in villages in Poland such as in Silesia, Galicia, the Carpathians, etc. and many of them never traveled far from their settlements in pursuit of trade. Many of the knifemakers, basket weavers, etc. made use of middlemen to sell their wares or did a circuit of fairs and markets during the seasons. Others in fact worked as farm laborers, forest workers, as outworkers for the cutlery manufacturing companies in the various Silesian towns, and various other tasks. Even rat catching is being mentioned as a profession amongst those in Poland. None, whoever, because gadjekane for being settled or shunned by other Rom (generally) and all retained their Traditions and their Culture, as well as Language. This shows that it makes not an iota of difference whether one travels or whether one is settled as to being Gypsy.

© M Veshengro Smith, April 2006