Czech Republic: Theme of International Romani Day celebrations this year is Romipen
On Sunday 8 April International Romani Day will be celebrated in the Czech Republic for the 18th time. The Prague celebrations will last three days and are being directed by the ART ART organization.
The theme of this year's celebrations will be Romipen ("Romani-ness") and its content in the 21st century. International Romani Day is a day when Romani people worldwide celebrate the richness of their culture, remember their history, and reflect on the situations they are facing both within the majority societies and inside their own communities.
The unifying theme of each year's celebration in the Czech Republic is always chosen to reflect current issues. This year's celebrations are happening under the them of Romipen, or "Romani-ness" and its content and meaning for the majority society and for Romani society.
"We are using the term Romipen to identify a set of cultural traditions, values and ways of behaving, negotiating and performing those traditions not just within our community and family, but also in public. These are unwritten laws handed down from one generation to the next through which (among other matters) the Romani society differentiates itself from the majority," explains David Tišer, director of ARA ART and the main director of the Prague celebrations.
"As part of this year's celebrations we want to ask what Romipen basically means currently for Romani people themselves - what forms it takes, how it develops, whether it is cultivating us or holding us back," the ARA ART director said. According to the organizers, the answers to questions about Romani people's own identity and values are immeasurably important.
"In order for us to be able to function well in majority society as a whole, we must primarily comprehend who we are ourselves. The journalist Petr Uhl once described this fittingly: 'Romipen is the basis of the cultural emancipation of the Roma'. I would add that this emancipation is unconditionally necessary for Romani people to live with dignity and in a bilaterally beneficial symbiosis with the majority society," Tišer said.
Celebrations of International Romani Day in Prague will last from Friday, 6 April to Sunday, 8 April. An historical "tROMvaj" or tram featuring live music will drive through the capital.
The musical program will be the fulcrum of the entire celebrations, which will culminate in a grand gala evening full of non-Romani and Romani celebrities on Sunday, 8 April at Divadlo Archa. As is traditional, the Milena Hübschmannová Award will be given for special contributions to the Romani language, with the laureates annually chosen by the Romani Studies Seminar at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague.
The celebration program including other information for visitors is now available at www.mezinarodnidenromu.cz. The live online broadcast of the 18th annual celebrations of International Romani Day will be performed by ROMEA TV on Sunday, 8 April.
About the celebration of International Romani Day
Celebrations of International Romani Day under the direction of the ARA ART organization have already offered several interesting themes for the last three years in a row. Romani students, for example, honored their role models and significant Romani figures in 2015 at the Meet Factory.
In 2016 at La Fabrika, honors were shown to the so-called "invisible Roma" whose work breaks down myths and stereotypes about Roma that dominate in Czech society. That same venue was the home of last year's celebrations, which pointed out the opportunity for the majority society and Romani people to live and work together without problems.
ARA ART began to dedicate its productions to International Romani Day in 2015. The aim is to bring together as many non-Romani and Romani organizations as possible on this occasion, to reach out beyond Romani society and remind the country that Romani people are a nation who, despite all of the difficulties they have undergone in history and that they are undergoing today, have something to be proud of.
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