Vlach Gypsies of Hungary - History and Cultural Affiliations

Intense scholarly dispute persists regarding the "origins" of the Gypsies. On the basis of one interpretation of the linguistic evidence, Gypsies clearly came from north India sometime after the Mogul invasions, perhaps in the tenth century. Another theory propounded by Dr. J. Okely in the United Kingdom suggests that Gypsies are the result of indigenous people marrying into a trading diaspora population speaking a trading pidgin of north Indian derivation. On the basis of their Romanian-influenced dialect, scholars presume that modern Hungarian Rom were slaves to feudal lords and monasteries in Moldavia and Wallachia from their appearance in the Middle Ages until the mid-nineteenth century. Rom have cordial relations with other Romany-speaking Gypsies in Hungary and elsewhere but for the most part scorn those Gypsies who have attempted assimilation into Hungarian society (such as the Romungro Gypsies). Non-Gypsies are known as gazo (plural gaze ), which Rom translate as "peasant" whether the non-Gypsy concerned is a peasant, a teacher, or otherwise employed. Non-Gypsies are known as "peasants" because of their involvement in productive labor. Gypsies, by contrast, are involved in trade and exchanging the products of non-Gypsy laborers. Relations between the two groups are for the most part hostile.

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