Friday, November 16, 2012

Learning about the Roma People

I've been writing about the gypsy music adventures in Saint Paul. That caused me to go back into my summer pictures and review again my visit to the Ethnographic Museum in Tarnow, Poland. I have experienced how Europeans live with the Roma culture in the Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. I discovered the museum in Tarnow is the only one in all of Europe that is dedicated to Roma history and culture, and so I decided to visit there last summer. (Other posts about my visit in Tarnow and other activities while there may be found in the July 2012 archive.)

The museum is housed in an old manor house.

This photo shows the haze of a hot summer day!

Early on in the display one finds that curators discussed with the Roma how to label things in the museum. They together arrived at describing the people as Roma but some parts of the culture, such as music, as gypsy.

The sign above describes a 19th century viewpoint of the Roma people.

This sign displays the admonishment to not become farmers, but rather to become musicians. (Please click on the photo to make it become even larger for reading.)

Among the holdings of the museum are these old instruments.

The Roma are quite dispersed about Europe. The map displays some statistics.

In 1971 the Roma held a World Council near London. At this Council a flag and hymn were adopted.

This flag is recognized by the Roma in Western Europe as well as those in Russia and Ukraine.

The words for the Roma hymn are displayed below.

The Roma language is believed to have evolved from Sanskrit.

Here's the alphabet.

And here is a page from a children's book written in the Roma language.
What I have learned is that is that there is great diversity among the Roma people. The men who played music on Wednesday night are a different from the Rainbow Gypsies of Romania who yet again are somewhat different from the those I saw camped outdoors under plastic tarps on the outskirts of Birlad, Romania.

Hope you enjoyed a bit of a visit to an Ethnographic Museum. I was so very glad to have visited this museum as well as other places in Tarnow.

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