Who Are Gypsies?
Gypsies are wandering people. They travel in groups from one place to other by horse-driven or bullock-carts. They do not live permanently at a particular place. They are found everywhere in the world. Nobody knows about their origin, but it is believed that they came from India.
Their origin, however, is traced back to the 10th century. There are indications that certain groups of people from India migrated to Persia in the 10th century. There they split into two groups, one traveled south-west through Egypt and North Africa and the other took the northern route.
They reached north-western Europe in the 15th and 16th century. The English believed that they had come from Egypt. So, they called them ‘Gypsies’. The word ‘Gypsy’ has been derived from the word ‘Egypt’. Later they traveled to Germany, France, Spain and even Sweden and Finland.
The Gypsies’ language is called ‘Romany’. It resembles Sanskrit. Through centuries of wandering, their language has become a mix of words borrowed from the languages of countries in which they lived.
Being different and strange they have often been feared and disliked. Gypsies earn their livelihood through several professions. Some of them are wood-carvers while others mend pots and pans. Some others have become fortune tellers.
In England many Gypsies have taken to horse trading. Some Gypsies are good singers and violinists. Spanish Gypsies are famous for flamenco dancing.
In Yugoslavia many Gypsies have specialized in the art of making gun powder. Many Gypsy women have become tricksters, beggars, fortunetellers or entertainers to make money. And so women manage to earn more as compared to men.