National Wedding Traditions: Gipsy Wedding

Gipsy Wedding Traditions Gipsy (Roma) wedding traditions greatly depend on the region where Gipsies live. Due to the peculiar lifestyle, Roma tribes all over the world have different wedding customs as they integrate into the societies they live in. However, some of the traditions may be regarded as common, and they will be discussed here. The sense of gipsy wedding is that the family extends unlike the western tradition, according to which wedding implies the emergence of the new family. Traditionally, the age of the newlyweds ranged between ten and fifteen. The early age of the bride and the groom was explained by the striving to prevent young generation from acceptance of other styles of life and thus to maintain tribal purity. The dowry (“darro” in Romani) is paid by the groom’s family to the bride’s family , as far as the latter lose their daughter, while the groom’s family achieves her earning power instead. The wedding itself (“abiav” in Romani) has no religious sense. The very agreement of two people to live together is considered an argument in Roma tribes, that’s why all religious and civil ceremonies are conducted only if gipsies want to maintain the formalities. As for the traditional Roma wedding, the bride and the groom may join their hands in front of the head of the tribe and promise to be faithful to each other. Also, the rituals associated with bread are very popular: the couple has to put a drop of blood on one’s piece of bread, exchange these pieces of bread and eat them. Similar but less dramatic ritual is accomplished with bread and salt, which are considered the symbols of harmony. The informal celebrations of a wedding may last for a few days. Besides pig, goose, game and other animals cooked on the open fire, hedgehogs are considered traditional wedding food. After the celebration, the bride’s family kisses her and loosens her hair. The bride’s mother-in-law helps her knot the “diklo” (head scarf from Romani), which is the obligatory accessory of a married woman. Marriage is a serious commitment for Romani, and infidelity is strictly punished.

Marco Douglas