Mysterious, original, bright Roma became the object of research of a special area of ethnography - romology, or, as it is also called, gypsy studies. It explains the many customs of these people, the specifics of their worldview, sometimes incomprehensible to representatives of other ethnic groups.
The Gypsies have a special position in the list of “small but proud” nations of the world. They, for example, never defended their national interests in arms. And the reason is not at all in the fact that they led (and now still continue to lead) a nomadic way of life. Against the background of all nomadic conquering and nomadic aggressor tribes who inherited history, Gypsy pacifism is rather an exception to the general rule. They just have Gypsy pride - the basis of their national consciousness and the whole way of their life. Do not be her, perhaps, the Roma and would not be Roma in the sense in which we usually imagine.
According to one of the ethnographic versions, the Gypsies descended from a certain Indian caste, who had left it incomprehensible why their native land. This caste clearly did not belong to the elect, but, apparently, it was not even lower, because the Roma went to wander the world with a firm conviction of their exclusivity and uniqueness.
They call their existence the work of God, and hence, in their opinion, the “rights of the people of the Earth” granted to them by God stem from, the meaning of which lies in the freedom of movement and the use of natural resources. In the old days, Roma could quietly stop in any settlement, use other people's pastures, carry around other people's gardens and kitchen gardens without any shame of conscience. And among the owners of pastures and vegetable gardens, meanwhile, property was a long-established notion, and they regarded the actions of Gypsies as frantic theft.
Gypsies are also proud of the ability to get along with each other and always help each other out of the most difficult situations, which helps them to survive as a people. They consider their resistance to alcoholism to be a very important advantage over other nations. Although drinking alcohol in their environment is not forbidden, a drunken gypsy, and especially a gypsy, is nonsense.
Gypsy pride also includes luck, the ability to earn money quickly and deftly. Not all methods of extracting money were found acceptable by the Roma. So, among the professions of medicine that are forbidden by them, since they call a sick human body “unclean”. Gypsy men traditionally labored in commerce and various commercial deals, blacksmithing and coal craft, women in divination. Even Gypsy art culture developed primarily as a business. With songs and dances they earned their living, not their folklore heritage.
The art of handling money, they comprehend from early childhood. As soon as the baby begins to more or less clearly speak, the parents are taken to teach him to distinguish between bank notes and correctly calculate the change. “Not knowing the money” for a gypsy or gypsy is a serious “defect” that can amount to a serious physical or mental injury.
If they are so proud and so lucky in money, then why are they begging for money, you ask. The fact is that begging is rarely an independent phenomenon. For adult gypsies, this is an integral part of the divination ritual, which is interpreted as a specific work activity with a spiritual bias, and therefore reward is necessarily relied on for it. But no fortune teller will come to you on the street with a direct offer of mystical services. At first, she will try to arouse your sympathy with a story about her unenviable position, she will ask for “little bread” for a young child, in other words, she will try to endear you emotionally. And only then will it start talking about "what was and what will be." Children are taught to beg in order to master the skills of communicating with non-gypsies, to practice simple psychological manipulations.
The resort to begging for gypsies was also forced by long wanderings. Having numerous families, women sometimes were not able to work on all the clothes in hiking conditions. They burned dirty things and went to beg for “clothes” from residents of nearby communities. And they could have already on their own initiative to share not only the dress, but also the products and objects of everyday use.
By the way, I remember how already in the times of my childhood several Gypsies periodically made an apartment round the five-story building where we lived. The neighbors bore them a lot of all sorts of things, the gypsy women didn’t refuse anything, thanked and wished for health, and then they left unwanted alms on the bench at the entrance, taking with them only what was really necessary.
To the insults, humiliation of the Roma is not accepted to respond with some forceful measures. Gypsy pride never dictated the rules of revenge, reprisals characteristic of, as is known, for the Caucasian peoples. It happened, of course, that the gypsies were implicated in the killings, but extremely rarely. And the denouement of the plot in the famous film “Tabor goes to heaven”, when the main character kills his beloved, and then himself, is a tribute to romanticism, rather than reality. They would prefer to take revenge for the insult by more sophisticated methods - to curse the offender's type “up to the seventh knee”, to bring damage, to bring on the disease.
The gypsy avoids clarifying the relationship with the gypsy: she can whip him with her hem, and, according to gypsy beliefs, he will remain anonymous for life. Since the Gypsy’s lower body is considered to be unclean, skirts are considered as carriers of filth. Gypsy women therefore wore skirts in several layers, covering them from above with scarves and aprons, in order to more reliably protect others from the vicious female nature. Having seen the items of women's wardrobe laid out on the bed, the husband had every right to throw a terrible scandal and accuse her of negligence and disrespect.
Cultivating ideas about their own exclusivity, Roma usually do not allow mixed marriages in their midst and vigilantly protect young people from having connections with foreigners. Until now, in some places, the custom remains to woo brides to their sons almost in early infancy: then a young man and a girl grow up loyal to each other, their marriage is not threatened with adultery, and love and mutual understanding reign in families. I don’t know whether Gypsy pride is involved here or not, but divorces among Gypsies are indeed a rare phenomenon. Probably, there is something to learn from them ...