Roma Festival

The parade comes to a halt, allowing these Roma dancers to put on a show.

The parade comes to a halt, allowing these Roma dancers to put on a show.

Khamoro means sun: the symbol that which unites and brings joy to all in the Romani culture. This week was the 16th World Roma Festival that intends to celebrate this culture with celebrations including dance and artistic workshops, ethnic food, fashion shows, church services, film screenings and exhibitions. The vibrant event is the parade, which took place on Friday.

The Romani people are also referred to as Roma, Sinti, Kale or Gypsies throughout Europe depending on the country. They were first thought to have originated in Egypt but now many historians believe they came from northwestern India and Pakistan between the 6th and 11th centuries. Much of their history is still a mystery. Shortly after arriving in Europe they were enslaved by many countries for hundreds of years until the 19th century. During this time they were put to death, forbid to marry, kept from speaking their native language, and children were abducted from their families. During WWII they were the first targets of the Nazis and about 2 million Romani died in concentration camps.

There are about 11 million Roma in Europe today and they are still considered an oppressed group. Many Roma children do not attend school and Roma adults tend to avoid holding stable jobs. The Khamoro festival is designed to enlighten others and celebrate their fascinating culture. Music and dance highlighted the beauty of the Roma people at the parade.

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