International Romani Day
International Romani Day is always marked on April 8th each year. It honors the first major international meeting of Romani representatives, April 7–12 1971 in Chelsfield near London.
Romani were originally traveling court musicians in parts of what is now India and Pakistan.
The Romani have their own language and culture. In the Middle Ages, they migrated to Turkey, France, Spain. In Spain, their culture mixed with Iberian, Jewish, Muslim, and Moorish society and became identified as Flamenco. They are one of the most persecuted populations, targeted for extinction by both the Nazis and Communists, as well as several local governments in Asia and Africa.
In the early 1800s, many Romani came to the United States, Canada, Brazil, and other nations in the Americas. There are an estimated one million Roma in the United States; and 800,000 in Brazil,
A New York Times story indicates Romani people are not just a socially or culturally identified group of people. They are also identified genetically as a distinct genetic group.
Famous Romani include:
- Michael Caine, (Maurice Joseph Micklewhite)
- Charlie Chaplin who was reportedly born in a Gypsy caravan
- Yul Brynner, (Yul Borisovich Brynner), who according to his own testimony, was one-quarter Roma and one-quarter of Jewish
- Pablo Picasso was proud of his Roma origin.
International Romani Day was established in Serock, Poland in 1990 during the World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union which began in 1971. The United Nations lists International Romani Day as one of its Awareness Days.