Spanish Rom - Kinship, Marriage, and Family

Kin Groups and Descent. In the Rom kinship system, kin terms are, with the exception of affinal labels, similar to those in English. The European Rom, including the Spanish Rom, divide themselves into three "tribes" or vítsi: the Kalderása, the Lovára, and the Tšurára. Although Rom concede that small linguistic and social differences distinguish one vitsa from another, all Rom consider themselves related to all other Rom by ties of consanguinity and affinity, as well as by a common culture and language. Marriages can occur both within and across vitsa lines, and one can claim membership to either father's or mother's tribe. The vitsi are not corporate groups.

Marriage. Ideally, the kin of a marriageable young man (a romoro ) seek out a Rom girl (a sei ) for him to marry. The boy's kin arrange a series of feasts "to honor" the girl's kin. Then at a formal ritual ( mangimós ), a bride-price in gold coins is negotiated. A wedding usually follows. Many Spanish Rom dislike the idea of a bride-price and take pains to keep their married daughters close by. They also require that the young people involved consent to the union. Occasionally Rom men will marry Gazé women or Gitano women. There is a strong taboo on Rom women marrying Gazé men. Patrilocality is the ideal, but matrilocality also occurs.

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