The Gypsy people as they are commonly know, more properly as the Roma people, live throughout Europe, but nowhere are they more prevalent than in Romania. Especially in the little hook of Transylvania where their traditions are most definitely… ALIVE!!!
I had the great pleasure to spend a short amount of time in an area where the Roma are living simple existence but with a zest for life, music and their very special style of dance, that is nothing but simple.
From this corner of the world came RomaFest, a dance group lead by Gypsy super legend Atilla. He has performed all around the world with Cirque de Solei and his group RomaFest, but his roots are firmly at home here in this corner of Romania.
Every place we visit we find authentic culture. These dancers were a real treat to watch! For more information, visit www.cobblestonefreeway.ca
We not only had the chance to study and learn the various dances, rhythms and music of the Roma but we were treated to an evening where the entire village came out to greet us.
Although poor and struggling to figure out how to maintain their culture in a globalized world, their spirit was tangible in the air that night.
The goulash was amazing, the music was inspiring and although we couldn’t speak with them, they were eager to sing and dance and show off their moves. All the local kids came out and the village literally erupted into a frenzy that, at one moment seemed about to loose control, until the main man ‘Atilla’ waved his arm as if putting up an invisible wall and we made our escape.
That time when things got wild and crazy in that Roma village in Romania! We really felt welcomed into the village with their hospitality and we were carried away by the music, dance and food! More details on our website at www.cobblestonefreeway.ca
One day we visited another group of Roma who made traditional clothing, which people ordered from all around the world.
Yes it’s true, what is commonly known as Dracula’s Castle, is not far off and a real draw for tourism in Romania but we didn’t squeeze it in to our schedule this time. It’s honestly not that we were scared! 😉 We’ll go next time!
The real focus of our visit was learning the traditional dances. They were in some ways simple in structure but ridiculously difficult. It was the musical combinations that I wasn’t used to and the rhythms and slapping that left my head spinning and my legs burning.
“Gypsy” dance as we often see it on stage is not really what the true Roma people do. It is more of a stage creation that has become popularized and stereotyped. In reality the Roma culture is old and unique and rich and ridiculously misunderstood.
The Roma came to Europe, it is believed in the 1400’s, after travelling nomadically from northern India, which they left in the 10th century. Europeans believe they came from Egypt and thus the Gypsy.
The Roma have their own language but have adopted a variety of religions wherever they have settled. Albeit, their spirituality is still sprinkled with aspects of Hinduism which is a tribute to their origins.
The Roma have been stereotyped in many negative ways such as beggars and stealers. They do have a a laissez-faire attitude towards life and their tradition as musical entertainers along with their exotic costumes may have also contributed to this.
They did in fact tend to take up occupations that that they could do wherever they travelled. This may have included metalworking, woodworking, carpentry and horse trading. In the village we visited, they make their living by making and selling baskets. Now they offer tours and master classes to tourists. Trust me, it’s harder than it looks!
Overall, we had an amazing time and can’t wait to go back.
If you want to join us – come along!
Our Signature tours offer everything you would expect from Cobblestone Freeway.