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Czech Republic: Overview of International Romani Day events

6.4.2015 20:48, (ROMEA)
An overview of International Romani Day celebrations in the Czech Republic in 2015 (PHOTO:  IQ Roma servis)
An overview of International Romani Day celebrations in the Czech Republic in 2015 (PHOTO: IQ Roma servis)

On Wednesday, 8 April, Romani people worldwide will celebrate International Romani Day. This day commemorates the historical first congress of the International Romani Union in Great Britain in 1971, where participants adopted the Romani flag and international anthem.  

International Romani Day has been celebrated in the Czech Republic since the 1990s. This year celebrations are planned around the country; the following is an overview of the most significant ones.

Prague:  Student Tribute to Romani Figures  

ARA ART, in collaboration with its partner organizations ROMEA, Hate Free Culture, Slovo 21 and the Museum of Romani Culture, has prepared a special program for 8 April at the MeetFactory club in Prague combining entertainment, music, dance and song together with a symbolic demonstration of respect (pat'iv) for leading Romani figures. 

TICKETS
Tickets cost CZK 100 and are on sale at the MeetFactory. Discounted tickets of CZK 50 for students, senior citizens, and holders of the Hate Free membership card will be for sale at the event.

"International Romani Day is an occasion to draw attention to some of the pillars of our much-needed national pride, as well as to reflect in different ways together on the problems and the successes of the Romani minority," organizers say in a press release. The gala evening will involve the student's award ceremony accompanied by a rich musical program centered around performances by the younger generation of Romani musicians.

Those performing will be Erika Fečová, Jan Bendig, Jitka Matiová, Funky Brothers, Le Čhavendar and Milan Horváth, with a guest performance by non-Romani musician Ondřej Ruml. The highlight of the evening will be a concert by the Terne Čhave band from Hradec Králové to launch their new CD.  

After the awards ceremony and the live music, the evening will end with a party led by DJ I.T. The event will be broadcast live on Czech Television's online station. 

Program:
17:00 - Opening,  warm up program
19:00 - Gala evening - Student honors will be awarded to Romani figures in the categories of culture, academia and education, social work, media, politics, sport and in memoriam. The awardees were chosen by Romani high school and college students through a survey conducted at the beginning of 2015. The musical program will feature Erika Fečová, Jan Bendig, Ondřej Ruml, Le Čhavendar, Funky Brothers, Jitka Matiová, Milan Horváth and others.
22:00 - Afterparty to launch Terne Ćhave's new CD

Brno - Romani Pride Week

This year's celebration of International Romani Day in Brno will be held on Svoboda Square as part of Romani Pride Week. "We want to show that Romani people know how to do things, that they are a nationality with their own history, culture, language and leading figures worldwide," the Brno organizers say.

The celebrations will launch on Tuesday, 7 April in the Lužánka Municipal Park, where participants will tie ribbons on a "Tree of Tolerance" as a symbol of cohesion, energy and tolerance. At 15:00 there will be activities for children on the program for a fun afternoon in the park, designed by the organizers and volunteers.

On Wednesday, 8 April, at 12:00 there will be stands about Romani history, culture, traditions, figures, cuisine (including tastings) and a workshop on the Romani language. During the afternoon starting at 15:00 there will be performances on the podium by Romani singers, dancers, musicians, artists and a fashion show of traditional Romani clothing.

On Thursday, 9 April from 10:00 - 18:00, those interested can visit the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Romani Culture, called "The Story of the Roma",  free of charge; the exhibition presents Romani history and culture from its beginnings through to contemporary times, as well as the extent of its global uniqueness. No entry after 17:00.

Romani Pride Week in Brno is being convened by these organizations:  IQ Roma servis, Drom, Džas, Museum of Romani Culture, Ratolest, and the Moravian Romani Society (Společenství Romů na Moravě).

Jihlava - Romani Culture Week

In Jihlava, as is traditional, the Láčo Drom band and the Mulačágo community club will hold Romani Culture Week to celebrate International Romani Day. One of the main draws this year will also be an exhibition on the "Genocide of the Roma during the Second World War".  

Two documentary films will also be screened as part of the celebrations, the Czech student film "Let's Blockade" ("Několik let") and the Slovak documentary film "All My Children" ("Všetky moje deti").

Program:
7. 4. Exhibition opens
8. 4. Theatrical performance
8. 4. Documentary film "Několik let"
9. 4. Cultural evening
10. 4. Children's reading
13. 4. Documentary film "Všetky moje děti"

Mimoň

In Mimoň a two-day celebration of International Romani Day has been organized by Emilie Horáčková and the members of the local National Minority Commission. On Friday, 10 April, mass will be held at the Church of St. Peter and Paul calling for reconciliation and coexistence in love and peace between all nations and minorities.  

On Saturday 11 April at 13:00 at the Sports Club there will be a public event. Together with representatives of the town of Ralsko, organizers will plant a "Tree of Good Will" and Zbyněk Andrš will give a lecture on the history of the Roma and the Romani language.  

Visitors will be able to view an exhibition of photographs by Daniela Cincibusová and hear a lecture about Kali Sara of France. Irena Eliášová will present the book "The Sun Sets in the Morning" (Slunce zapadá až ráno).  

Program:
Musical accompaniment - GALX ROM Rumburk band
Dance performance by children from Rumburk led by Ms. H. Olahová
Dance performance by children from Náhlov
Most District Caritas - traditional dance and hip hop
Saxophone solo by Ivan Holub
Kale apsa dance group - Česká Lípa
Exhibition of jewelry made by children at the Náhlov Drop-in Center for Children and Youth, led by Milan Farkaš
Panels on the themes of history, the Holocaust and contemporary issues
Photographs from various events held from 2000-2014 by Emilie Horáčková
Romani catering – traditional foods of Romani people from Eastern and Western Slovakia and of Hungarian Roma

International Romani Day 2015 - Nový Jičín

The celebration of International Romani Day 2015 in Nový Jičín will take place at the Tyršova 1 Primary School and at the Archa teahouse, where Michal Schuster will give a lecture on the topic of "Romani History" and visitors will be able to taste Romani cuisine and buy Romani music CDs. In the evening the young piano virtuoso Patrik Kačo will perform at the Martin Café.    

Prague - "Cultural Encounters"

The Prague 14 Municipal Department has prepared a program of many interesting public events for this April called "Cultural Encounters" (Setkání kultur). The campaign, which primarily celebrates the coexistence of various ethnicities and nations, is being held for the sixth year in a row, and what was originally a one-day event has grown into a month-long one.  

"The aim of this campaign, in addition to familiarizing ourselves with the customs and cultural heritage of other nations, is also to support mutual tolerance between the majority society and foreign nationals living in Prague 14," explains local councilor Irena Kolmanová, who is responsible for cultural activities in Prague 14. As part of the campaign, there will be a musical evening celebrating International Romani Day on Friday, 10 April at 19:00 in the Kyje House of Culture (Kulturní dům).

Audiences will be able to hear the Romani music bands Kaminiko, Gitans, Lače manuša, and the women's choral ensemble Kaĺi Phurd. You can find the complete program listings here (in Czech).

Prague - Buči

On Friday, 10 April, in honor of International Romani Day, the Buči association will hold a benefit concert at the Nová Chmelnice music club in Prague-Žižkov.  

Czech Television - program series dedicated to International Romani Day

During the coming week, Czech Television will present a series of programs in honor of International Romani Day. Viewers will be able to see the Czech television premiere of the documentary film "Suppressed Letters" ("Zatajené dopisy") about an experimental Romani school in 1950s Czechoslovakia, and the psychological drama "Marian", the debut feature film of director Petr Václav, who has just won the Czech Lion award for "The Way Out".  

Other feature films on Czech TV this week will be "The Brats" (Smradi) by director Zdeňek Tyc, which touches on xenophobia and racial intolerance, and his film "El Paso", about the fate of a Romani widow who is the mother of seven children. You can find the full program here (in Czech).  

Zdeněk Ryšavý, Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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actions, International Roma Day, Roma, television



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