Many assumptions have been formulated regarding the origin
of Roma people and only the inherited linguistic facts justify
their Indian origin.
Actually, it has still remained an unknown fact why the
ancestors of Roma have left their dwellings in the northwestern
India. They began to move towards the west during the XI
Various stories and legends shed light on potential explanations
were inhabitants of Atlantides and when it sunk, they
were forced to leave and move all over the world.
Roma maintain that their ancestors lived in a big kingdom
and their king was very cruel to the neighboring peoples,
which got together and declared him war. Following their
victory, they decided to murder the king and to forgive
his people, on condition that this people had to leave
their dwellings and migrate as far as possible.
other Roma say that India was attacked by a great Moslem
king. The Indians of that time got together and established
a big army with various Indian and non- Indian peoples
and family groups. This big army fought for many centuries
against Moslem forces, increasingly pushing towards
west, but at the same time, they left India as far as
possible. This war in the XI century is in fact recognized
The Roma teacher Latif Kazanxhi says that
after long wars for the independence of India, fighting
against Moslem invaders in the vicinity of Traime, the ancestors
of Roma, who constituted an aristocratic caste of warriors,
were forced to leave their country. The Roma people in Balkans
were settled in specific groups or they were brought by
the Turkish armies, in which they formed specific units
for the production of powder and weapons. According to an
Ottoman registration of the year 1523, there is some data
for the settlement of Roma in Albania. Some 374 Roma families
were estimated, but it is presumed they had come 200-300
years before this registration. According to the professor
Shuaip Isufi, in the III century BC, in India lived a powerful
king called Roma, who really loved his people. After his
death, common people wrote poems for him, which later created
the epos Romajama. 220 best verses were selected out of
this epos and they were sung in temples. In this way, the
myth of Ramizim sprung up. The people who embraced this
religion were called Ramist and later they were called Roma.
The Roma nation has its Anthem and Flag at an international
level. These symbols were declared in the First Roma Congress
that was held in London, in April 1971.
Roma participants from 22 various countries unanimously
decided the day of 8 April as the international day of Roma.
They raised the Roma flag, half green (symbol of land) and
half blue (symbol of sky) and a red wheel was in the middle,
representing the movement. The Roma Anthem is “Gelem,
Gelem” (I went, I went).
Four World Roma Congresses have been held so far. There,
it was decided to use the term Roma instead of other terms
that were used until that period and the use of the alphabet
of Roma language as well.
Many Albanians often confuse Roma community with the Egyptian
community (which in the slang language are often called
gypsies). This community differs from Roma, as it does not
have its own native language. Their origin is thought to
be from Egypt and they are settled only in urban areas.
In general, the term ROMA causes confusions to the non Roma
people. In this context, many people think that Roma have
come from Romania or are related to Rome, the capital of
-- 8 April, the Day of Roma Nation is celebrated
all over the world by various ceremonies: meetings and symposia,
music, carnivals, rituals along the river shore, throwing
flowers, lighting candles etc.
-- 6 May, the Feast of Saint Gjergj (George)
is celebrated by getting together, having dinners and enjoying
music. They come out at 3 a clock in the morning, wash themselves
in the river “as their life may run, just like the
are four Roma family groups : Meçkar, Karbuxhinj,
Kurtof and Cergar.
The family group Meçkar is primarily settled in Myzeqe,
Tirana and Berat; the family group of Karbuxhi is settled
in Korça, Fush Kruja, Tirana, Elbasan and Pogradec
(it is presumed they had come in Albania from Greece); the
family group Kurtof is broadly settled in Lezha, Shkodër
(they are basically settled in the northern part of Albania,
because they have come from Montenegro); the family group
Cergar is settled in Berat, Elbasan, Delvina, Saranda and
Gjirokastër (it is presumed they had come in Albania
from Greece). However, the numerous movements have made
those family groups scatter even in other parts of Albania.
The Roma culture has many oriental shades, due to their
Many people imagine Roma as vagrant persons, sly salesmen
or famous fortune tellers. In reality, only a few people
may be able to know their true spirit, when speaking to
them. They may not be rich in money, but they are rich in
we gaxhenjt (non- Roma people) pass by and see with curiosity
and fear those people worn in a different manner, speaking
another language, even though we live in the same country.
You can barely see them smile you back in the street. It
is very difficult to speak to them. Even if you tend to
speak to them expressing something unpleasant, they adjust
an indifferent attitude, as if they want to protect themselves
from any potential attack.
fact, we have never managed to know these people with the
freest spirit in the world. For the sake of their own freedom,
they have not submitted to any law, king or regime for running
centuries. They have paid a very high price for this freedom,
living in extreme poverty, under various prejudices. They
are amazing people, gifted for music and dancing. They live
the moment and don’t care for the opinion of others.
They like to domesticate bears and horses, they like to
travel and be mysterious. They like colors and they are
very romantic people.
asked if Roma are like the running river or like the wind,
the Roma journalist Ramazan Mile answered that Roma are
like the wind, because the river has limits, which imprison
it inside its bed.
If there are three basic elements to live: air, sun and
water, Roma need a fourth element, the music- he says. The
symbolic animal for Roma is the bear. According to an old
legend, a young woman had gotten pregnant and she jumped
in the river to drown herself, but a bear saved her life.
Thus, the bear became the dearest animal for Roma people.
The Roma man loves freedom more than he has to. He leads
a modest life, but is quite rich in spirit. Often the Roma
people seem to have a difficult character and it is very
hard to communicate with them, as poverty hardens the soul.
Roma people are the greatest smokers in the world, because
tobacco quenches the thirst.
Last but not least, Roma are excellent salesmen, although
they have never studied economics, finances or marketing.
Roma have been converted to the religion of the country
where they had settled.
Finally, I would like to end this brief presentation, by
appealing to all of you who used to have an unfriendly attitude
towards Roma, to be more tolerant and try first to know
those people you prejudice. Before accusing any Roma man
cramming in the bus that he stole your wallet, check your
bag or pocket.
would like to say to all of you, Roma people that Amaro
Drom believes in your efforts towards integration and development.
We believe in your values and capacities, we believe in
your self- organization and self- initiatives. We believe
that you are the only ones that can do something for the
improvement of the situation. We believe in you .
express my thanks to all persons, who were involved in various
interviews and conservations for the preparation of this
Albanian Roma Union “Amaro Drom”