Vlach Gypsies of Hungary - Marriage and Family

Marriage. There are no explicit marriage rules; rather, a Rom expresses a series of preferences: spouses should be Rom, known to the family, not first cousins, and from good families, etc. Most marriages are within a small circle of kin, and, despite articulated preferences, many marriages are now among first cousins. Postmarital residence tends to alternate for several years but becomes virilocal after several children are born. Divorce and remarriage in the early years of Marriage is frequent, although previous marriages are a taboo subject to discuss in public.

Domestic Unit. Two-generation households are the norm. Once all the children have left the parental home, they are often replaced by grandchildren, so old people rarely live alone. Families of eight or more children were traditionally common, with three to five offspring now being the norm.

Socialization. Children are the focus of Rom communities and are treated with great tolerance and generosity. Male children are treated preferentially, and values of autonomy, independence, and agonistic display are cultivated, especially in them. Girls are taught to acquire a sense of "shame." Children are taught a brazen, even aggressive stance with non-Gypsy children; girls, for instance, may appear to drop their "shame" with the "shameless" non-Gypsy to "fool" them. After the purificatory rite of baptism there are no initiation rites. All Rom children receive some formal education in state schools, where they have often suffered from discriminatory practices.

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