The gypsy people, also known as “the Roma,” are a fascinating culture that has such vast differences within itself. They are a people who originated in India, who conform to no strict religion, and who’ve migrated across the globe after having left India around 1,500 years ago. These nomadic people now live all across the planet but are more concentrated in Europe.
Romania has the largest population of Roma, with 12% of their population belonging to the tribe. Other countries with large gypsy numbers are Hungary, Turkey, Slovakia, Russia, Spain, and France. But they’ve migrated everywhere now.
Across the ocean, Brazil has 800,000 Roma. The United States has one million, and in recent years, the shows My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Gypsy Sisters, and Arranged have cast more light on the secretive gypsy community.
Like so many other groups of people, the gypsies are constantly stereotyped. People generally associate gypsies with child brides, dancing, caravans, fortune tellers, women wearing gold bangle bracelets, lavish weddings, elaborate dresses, and the tight-knit, closed-off communities the Roma are known for having.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, and while some of these are true, not all are. One stereotype that the Roma, themselves, perpetuate, is that the girls are sexually promiscuous. Anyone would think that based on the provocative clothing they wear. But contradictory to their appearance, they actually adhere to a strict moral code that not many people know about since most people judge books by their covers. And this is just the beginning of the surprises you’ll learn about this group of people.
Following are 15 little-known facts and rules the Roma live by.Despite having variations between them, the Roma seem to agree on a few things. For all of them, a tremendous importance is placed on family and preserving their culture, to the point of being secretive about it. Also, for the most part, they all seem to have kept a nomadic mentality.
The rest? There’s so much to tell, but we’ll start with 15 rules and facts you probably didn’t know…
1. Their Version of BAE
“BAE,” of course, stands for “before anyone else” and is a term used frequently by the younger generations. A BAE could be a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or a best friend. Basically, your BAE is the closest person to you. For the Roma people, they have their own version of a BAE, because they like to say, “Rom before anything else,” meaning Roma before anything else — kind of sounding like a gang type of thing where it’s blood in, blood out, the Roma people prioritize their heritage and beliefs over everything, to the point that they even have a term for the non-Roma, which is “Gadje.” Gadje aren’t to be trusted, and the most important thing for the Roma is honoring, practicing, and preserving their culture as Roma people. This often means shutting other people out and even being secretive about their lives.