Gitanos - Religion and Expressive Culture

Religion. Gitanos are Roman Catholics who participate in four of the church's sacraments (baptism, marriage, First Communion, and extreme unction), but they are not assiduous churchgoers. They rarely go to folk healers, and they participate fully in Spain's state-supported medical system. Gitanos have a special involvement with recently dead kin, visit their graves frequently, and spend a great deal more money than non-Gitanos of equivalent economic classes in adorning grave sites.

Arts. Flamenco is a cluster of related music and dance forms that originated in Andalusia, southern Spain. In the popular imagination, it is strongly associated with Gitanos, though there are both Gitano and non-Gitano traditions, and as yet no one is sure of flamenco's origins. In the musical tradition, the oldest Gitano songs appear to be a group of unaccompanied verses relating to prison life and other privations of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Gitano flamenco artists have remained among the most well-known of Spanish performers.

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