Roma in Romania
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The Roma (Roma in Romani; Romi or Țigani in Romanian) constitute one of the largest minorities in Romania. According to the 2011 census, they number 619,007 people or 3.2% of the total population, being the second-largest ethnic minority in Romania after Hungarians. The Roma are Romania's most socially and economically disadvantaged minority, with high illiteracy levels.
Documenting Romania's Roma population remains difficult; many Roma do not declare their ethnicity in the census and do not have an identity card or birth certificate. Since 2007 members of this ethnic group have migrated to Spain, Italy, and France, where many Roma have experienced hostility and racism.
According to the 2002-census, 81.9% of Romanian-Roma are Orthodox Christians, 6.4% Pentecostals, 3.8% Roman Catholics, 3% Hungarian Reformed, 1.1% Greek Catholics, 0.9% Baptists, 0.8% Seventh-Day Adventists, while the rest belong to other religions such as (Islam and Lutheranism).
In Romani, the native language of the Roma, the word for people is pronounced [ˈroma] or [ˈʀoma] depending on dialect ([ˈrom] or [ˈʀom] in the singular). Starting from the 1990s, the word has also been officially used in the Romanian language, although it has been used by Romani activists in Romania as far back as 1933.
There are two spellings of the word in Romanian: rom (plural romi), and rrom (plural rromi). The first spelling is preferred by the majority of Romani NGOs and it is the only spelling accepted in Romanian Academy's Dicționarul explicativ al limbii române. The two forms reflect the fact that for some speakers of Romani there are two rhotic (ar-like) phonemes: /r/ and /ʀ/. In the government-sponsored (Courthiade) writing system /ʀ/ is spelt rr. The final i in rromi is the Romanian (not Romani) plural.
The traditional and colloquial Romanian name for Roma, also widely used by the press, is "țigani" (cognate with Serbian cigani, Hungarian cigány, Greek ατσίγγανοι (atsinganoi), French tsiganes, Portuguese ciganos, Dutch zigeuner, German Zigeuner, Italian zingari). Depending on context, the term may be considered to be pejorative in Romania
Demographic history 
In combination with the Mongol invasion of Europe the first Roma had reached Romania around the year 1241. At the beginning of 1300s when the Mongols withdrew from Eastern Europe the Roma who were left were taken as prisoners and slaves. According to documents signed by Prince Dan I the first captured Roma in Wallachia dates back to year 1385.
In fact the Roma people, and the Romani language, have their origin in northern India. The presence of the Roms within the territory of present-day Romania dates back to the 14th century. The population of Roms fluctuated depending on diverse historical and political events.
Before 1856 
Until their liberation on February 20, 1856, most Roms lived in slavery. They could not leave the property of their owners (the boyars and the orthodox monasteries). Around the year 1750, about 102,000 Roma lived in the Danubian Principalities, comprising 2.7% of the population (90,000 or 4.1% in Wallachia and 12,000 or 0.8% in Moldavia).[verification needed]
Between 1856 and 1918 
After their liberation in 1856, a significant number of Roms left Wallachia and Moldavia.
In 1886 the number of Roms was estimated at around 200,000, or 3.2% of Romania's population. The 1899 census counted around 210,806 "others", of whom roughly half (or 2% of the country's population) were Roma.
In Bessarabia, annexed by the Russian Empire in 1812, the Roms were liberated in 1861. Many of them migrated to other regions of the Empire, while important communities remained in Soroca, Otaci and the surroundings of Cetatea Albă, Chișinău, and Bălți.
Between 1918 and 1945 
The 1918 union with Transylvania, Banat, Bukovina and Bessarabia increased the number of ethnic Roma in Romania.
The first census in interwar Romania took place in 1930; 242,656 persons (1.6%) were registered as Gypsies (ţigani).
The territory lost in 1940 caused a drop in the number of Roma, leaving a high number especially in Southern Dobruja and Northern Transylvania.
The Romanian government of Ion Antonescu deported 25,000 Roma to Transnistria; of these, 11,000 died. In all, from the territory of present-day Romania (including Northern Transylvania), 36,000 Roma perished during the Second World War.
After 2007 
The accession of Romania to the European Union in 2007 determined many members of the Romani minority, the most socially disadvantaged ethnic group in Romania, to migrate in masses to various Western countries (mostly to Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, France) hoping to find a better life. The exact number of emigrants is unknown. In 2007 Florin Cioabă, an important leader of the Romani community (also known as the "King of all Gypsies") declared in an interview that he worried that Romania may lose its Romani minority. However, the next population census in 2011 showed a substantial rise in those recording Roma ethnicity.
Cultural influence 
Romani music has had a significant influence in Romanian culture, as most lăutari (wedding and party musicians) are of Romani ethnicity. Renowned Romanian Romani musicians and bands include Grigoraş Dinicu, Johnny Răducanu, Ion Voicu and Taraf de Haïdouks. In recent years, some Romani artists have started to publish traditional Romani music in albums as a measure of ethnic preservation.
The musical genre manele, a part of Romanian pop culture, is often sung by Romani singers in Romania and has been influenced in part by Romani music, but mostly by Oriental music brought in Romania from Turkey during the 19th century. A subject of controversy, this kind of music is both considered to be low-class kitsch by some people in Romania and enjoyed by others as fun party music.
Integration in Romanian society 
According to a 2009 report of the European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency, the discrimination perception of the Romani community of Romania is lower than that of the other EU countries covered by the report. The perceived discrimination levels given by the report are:
- Czech Republic 64%: Hungary 62%: Poland 59%: Greece 55%: Slovakia 41%: Bulgaria 26%: Romania 25%:
Based on this report, Romanian newspapers have stated that the Romani minority in Romania is the 'least discriminated Romani minority in Eastern Europe' .
The same report suggested that the favorable responses from Bulgaria and, to a lesser extent, Romania be regarded with caution, as the low levels of reported discrimination might be a result of the high levels of segregation between Roma and non-Roma:
spatial segregation is high amongst the Roma; (that is, they are living in areas predominantly populated by other Roma): highest in Bulgaria (72%), Romania (66%), Slovakia (65%) and Greece (63%). The implications of this should be borne in mind when looking at the results, as higher levels of spatial segregation imply that Roma respondents are cut-off from mainstream society, which, on the one hand implies that they experience high levels of discrimination, but, on the other hand, may serve to shelter them from discriminatory treatment as contact with the majority population is limited
A 2000 EU report about Roma said that in Romania… the continued high levels of discrimination are a serious concern.. and progress has been limited to programmes aimed at improving access to education.
A survey of the Pro Democraţia association in Romania revealed that 94% of the questioned persons believe that the Romanian citizenship should be revoked to the ethnic Roms who commit crimes abroad.
Self-proclaimed "Romani royalty" 
The Romani community has:
- An "Emperor of Roma from Everywhere", as Iulian Rădulescu proclaimed himself. In 1997, Iulian Rădulescu announced the creation of Cem Romengo – the first Rom state in Târgu Jiu, in southwest Romania. According to Rădulescu, "this state has a symbolic value and does not affect the sovereignty and unity of Romania. It does not have armed forces and does not have borders". According to the 2002 population census, in Târgu Jiu there are 96,79% Romanians (93.546 people), 3,01% (Roma) (2.916 people) and 0,20% others.
- A "King of Roma". In 1992, Ioan Cioabă proclaimed himself King of Roma at Horezu, "in front of more than 10,000 Rroms" (according to his son's declaration). His son, Florin Cioabă, succeeded him as king.
- An "International King of Roma". On August 31, 2003, according to a decree issued by Emperor Iulian, Ilie Stănescu was proclaimed king. The ceremony took place in Curtea de Argeş Cathedral, the Orthodox Church where Romania's Hohenzollern monarchs were crowned and are buried. Ilie Stănescu died in December, 2007.
Early age marriage scandal 
On September 27, 2003, Ana Maria Cioabă, the 12-year-old daughter of Florin Cioabă (the so-called "King of Roma") was forced to marry Mihai Birita, a 15-year-old boy. Since both were below Romania's legal age of marriage (set at 16), no official marriage ceremony was performed. Ana Maria Cioabă fled from the wedding, but her father brought her back and she was forcibly married. Particularly controversial was the fact that the groom showed the wedding guests a bloodied bed sheet to prove that the marriage had been consummated; in Romania, the age of consent is 15 years old, so sexual contact with the 12-year-old girl was illegal under Romanian law. A friend of girl's, Ms Dana Chendea, said, "She told me it was the worst thing that ever happened to her. She felt like a huge rock fell on her."
Baroness Emma Nicholson, the European Parliament rapporteur for Romania, said that it was a rape and the child must be given over to foster care. Subsequently, the Romanian authorities decided that Ana-Maria Cioabă and Mihai Birita must live separately and must not have any sexual relationships until the legal age of marriage. Ana-Maria was not, however, sent to foster care.
Florin Cioabă said that he believes that there shouldn't be marriages between Romani children any more, but he argued that traditions that are hundreds of years old cannot be changed overnight.
The median age at which Romani girls first marry is 19.
Image gallery 
Romanian president Traian Băsescu (left) at a meeting with the representats of the Romani minority organizations (right)
Nazi era image. Posed photo some NSDAP leaders in 1941, with Romani flower sellers.
Notable people 
- Ştefan Răzvan (Romani father), voivod of Moldavia
- Grigoraş Dinicu, violinist
- Damian Draghici, player of the nai
- Ştefan Bănică, Sr., singer
- Ştefan Bănică, Jr., singer
- Fănică Luca, player of the nai
- Bănel Nicoliţă, footballer
- Alexandru Neagu, footballer
- Johnny Răducanu, jazz musician
- Adrian Copilul Minune, manele singer
- Ion Voicu, classical violinist and conductor
- Mădălin Voicu, conductor
- Nicolae Guţă, manele singer
- Marcel Pavel, singer
- Fărâmiţă Lambru, singer
- Nelu Ploieşteanu, singer
- Anca Parghel (Romani grandmother, possible Romani grandfather), jazz singer
- Connect-R, singer
See also 
- Roma in the Czech Republic
- Roma in Croatia
- Roma in Serbia
- Roma in Slovakia
- Roma in Hungary
- Roma in Bulgaria
- National Agency for the Roma, an agency of the Romanian government dealing with Rom affairs
- Slavery in Romania
- List of towns in Romania by Romani population
- 2006 Ferentari riot
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