Life around the world

Saturday, 10 June, 2017 - 16:52

The origins of Romani people in Spain

by PriyankaBlogger

A topic which fascinates me is that of the origins of Romani people in Spain. Living in Spain, I have noticed that there is a significant Romani population. I decided to find out more about them, and the findings were very interesting.

The Romani are a group of migratory people whose origins have been traced back to north-western India. This is particularly interesting for me, as I myself am Indian. The word ‘gypsy’ comes from ‘Egyptian’, because some Europeans thought they came from Egypt. Some people consider the word gypsy to be derogatory in English. In Spain, Romani people are called gitanos

From India, they travelled to Europe and Russia, although many Romani people made their way to the United States and Brazil too. Scholars have suggested that there are similarities between the Romani language and Indian languages. For example, body parts and words for daily routine are similar to Hindi and Punjabi, and the grammar is like that of Bengali.

A topic of particular interest to me is the similarity between Romani people in Spain and Indians. This can be seen clearly through their dances. There are similarities between Indian folk dances and flamenco, due to similar arm and waist movements. Furthermore, the way flamenco singers sing is comparable to the way some classical Indian singers sing. Their outfits bear resemblances too, for example the long flowing dresses worn by both flamenco dancers and Indian folk dancers. What I have noticed is that the skirts the Romani women wear are very colourful and look like the skirts which are part of traditional Indian outfits! The similarity is amazing. 

Romani people have contributed to and become part of Andalusian culture. It was in Andalusia that flamenco first emerged. The dance and music that put Spain in the spotlight owe a huge amount to Romani performers.

All of this has been fascinating for me, as an Indian. When I hear flamenco music something resonates with me and I can feel the passion being conveyed through the words. Having grown up listening to Indian music, I can definitely hear similarities in the way flamenco music sounds and the way Indian music does. It is no surprise then that I love flamenco so much; I believe it’s my Indian roots which help me appreciate it. I love it!


Have you ever discovered a new type of music that you love? 

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