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Czech Republic: International Romani Day celebrated 8 April

Czech Republic, 8.4.2014 6:44, (ROMEA)
The Roma flag.
The Roma flag.

International Romani Day is celebrated annually on 8 April. On this day, Romani people commemorate the historic first-ever global congress of the International Romani Union which was held near London in 1979 at the initiative of Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon of Great Britain, Jarko Jovanović of the former Yugoslavia, Mateo Maximoff representing the Manouche of France, and other Romani representatives and scholars of Romani studies. 

Not quite 30 people attended the congress, which adopted the design of the Romani flag and the lyrics and music of the international Romani anthem. Delegates to the congress officially established the first International Romani Union organization, which in the beginning was known under the name "World Romani Union".  

The congress also officially approved the use of the term "Roma" instead of "Gypsy" to refer to ethnic Roma. The following events will take place in the Czech Republic to commemorate 8 April 2014:

Week of Romani Culture in Brno

From 7 - 12 April 2014, the Week of Romani Culture will take place in Brno. The main event will be a celebration of International Romani Day, which is celebrated worldwide in 8 April. "This year is the first time we have decided to celebrate all week, and we have a diverse offering of events to attract the attention of the greater public, as well as events facilitating a dignified celebration by Romani people themselves," said Jana Vejplachová, a representative of the organizations convening the Week. On Tuesday, 8 April the exhibit "Myth of the Gypsy" will open at the Museum of Romani Culture. Other events included a traditional ceremony of tying ribbons to the Tree of Tolerance, a fashion show by Gypsy MaMa, and an exhibit of photographs of Romani personalities together with a "living library". The celebrations will culminate in Saturday's ball at the Musilka cultural center. The celebrations are being organized by the Brno-based nonprofits Drom, Džas, IQ Roma servis, Museum of Romani Cultur, Ratolest, Romodrom, and the Society of Roma in Moravia (Společenství Romů na Moravě). Complete information is available at:  www.facebook.com/denromubrno      

Roma Café in Prague

The Konexe organization has prepared a rich program of events to take place on Náměstí Republiky in Prague starting at 14:00. Visitors can look forward to a reading by the poet Renata Berkyová and prose writer Iveta Kokyová, dance performances, and the "Roma Café - A Coffeehouse without Walls" as well as other events. At 15:00 there will be a prayer and candles will be lit in honor of those who have died violently as result of genocide or as victims of discrimination and hate violence. Program subject to change. For updated information, see: https://www.facebook.com/events/1482459235316098/

International Romani Day in Nový Jičín

8 April will be celebrated at the Music Bar café in Nový Jičín starting at 15:00. There will be performances by the Cikne čhave ensemble of Nový Jičín, by Veronika Kačová, and by the children's choir of the Masarykova Elementary School of Valašské Meziříčí under the direction of Ivan Kandráč. There will also be a photo-gallery, an opportunity to taste Romani dishes, and much more.

Week of Romani Culture in Jihlava

From Monday 7 April through Friday 11 April at five locations in Jihlava the annual Week of Romani Culture will take place once more. The Municipal Library of Jihlava, the City Park Jihlava shopping center, the Hradební parkán area (featuring remains of medieval walls), the Jihlava Council Brewery and the Chilli Bar are places where the Ochto Baratos project group, comprised of students from Jihlava College, are convening events. Visitors can get their blood pumping to Romani dance and music, taste real Romani food, and much more. The events are diverse and open to the widest possible participation by the public. There will be several Romani dance groups, a Romani band, and a mini-festival of documentary films for lovers of the silver screen. There will also be an exhibition of photographs about life in excluded localities, while literature lovers will be able to view books on Romani topics at the Municipal Library. Detailed information is available at https://www.facebook.com/TRK2014     

"Cultural Encounters" in Prague 14

The Prague 14 Municipal Department will hold a series of events called "Cultural Encounters" during the week of 7 - 11 April. There will be an exhibition of drawings by children from elementary schools in Prague 14 at the Maňána café. On 8 April there will be a concert by the musical group Terne Čhave at the House of Culture in the Kyje quarter. On 9 April there will be an Ethno-Market in front of the "Rajská zahrada" metro station offering tastings of Cuban, Peruvian and Romani cusine. On 11 April there will be a "happening" at the Plechárna recreation center. For more information, visit http://www.praha14.cz/aktuality/Setkani_kultur2014_plakat.jpg

Concert by the bands Moja Reč, PARA and Sendreiovci in Prague

On Tuesday 8 April, International Romani Day, a concert will be held in the Blink Excelent club in Prague starting at 20:00 by three legendary bands of the Slovak hiphop scene - Moja Reč, PARA and the Romani band Sendreiovci. This is the first time that all three will perform live on the occasion of International Romani Day. The event is part of the "I don't see it black and white" (Nevidím to černobíle) campaign against racism and xenophobia.

International Romani Day 2014 in Kuřivody and Mimoň

On 8 April at 17:00 in the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Peter and Paul in Mimoň there will be a religious service led by Václav Horniak on the occasion of International Romani Day "For the peaceful life of Romani people and good coexistence among all people." On this occasion there will also be a cultural program. Compositions by J.S. Bach, V. Fanck and M. Widor will be played by the Romani organist Kamil Vavrek and the Romani anthem will be sung by Věra Zubková. People will be able to sign a petition calling for the removal of the pig farm from the Romani Holocaust site at Lety by Písek.  

On 9 April at 15:00 in the town of Kuřivody there will be a lecture on Romani history by the ethnologist and Romani studies scholar Zbyněk Andrš. Visitors will also be able to see an exhibition by the Romani visual artist Irena Eliášová. The NZDM Náhlov Charita Most organization will present the exhibition of paintings and there will be a children's choral and dance performance under the direction of Daniela Cincibusová. Romani author Irena Eliášová of Mimoň will introduce her book and read from it. There will also be a tasting of traditional Romani dishes – goja, marikla, and šinga. For more information, visit:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1430733020506253/?fref=ts

Photograph exhibit "Roma Today as They Were Centuries Ago" (Romové dnes jako před staletími) - National Minorities House, Prague

Jan Josef Rosenberg, a journalist and photographer working in film, radio and theater, will introduce his unique exhibition, "Roma Today as They Were Centuries Ago" on 8 April. This is the 10th year since the exhibition was first shown. It will be available for viewing in the National Minorities House (Dům národnostních menšin), Vocelova 3, Prague. The exhibition will open at 15:00.

The photographs were taken in 2004 shortly after cases of looting in eastern Slovakia, where the author was spending time with organizers of humanitarian aid. The exhibition features more than 50 black and white photographs of the life of Romani people in Madžurovce, Soľi, and Vranov nad Topl'ou in Slovakia. The photos were first exhibited that year at the Mánes restaurant in Prague before touring France, Germany and the USA. "I told myself that I would document, photograph, how Romani people live there. To go after the truth that could be found there and show it to people," Rosenberg has said of shooting the images.   

redakce, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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