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Events scheduled for International Romani Day - 8 April 2013

Czech Republic, 1.4.2013 16:38, (ROMEA)
The Roma flag.
The Roma flag.

On Monday, 8 April 2013 Romani people worldwide will celebrate International Romani Day. They will commemorate the historic first World Congress of the International Romani Union, which took place near London in 1971, primarily thanks to the initiative of Grattan Puxon and Donald Kenrick of Great Britain, Matéo Maximoff representing French Romani people (the Manouche), Jarko Jovanović of the former Yugoslavia, and other Romani individuals and Romani studies scholars. The Congress was attended by almost 30 people and resolved to adopt the Romani flag and international anthem.  

Below is a list of events that will take place in the Czech Republic to celebrate International Romani Day:

A celebrity charity tennis tournament, AVINDO 2013, will be held in Brno on 5 April for the second year. It will feature an event called "You can change your future", part of a motivational project supporting child achievement in primary school under the auspices of the Mayor of Brno, Roman Onderka.

Date and time:  5 April, 9 AM - grand opening.

Place: IMOS Tennis Hall, Brno


At the Cross Club in Prague there will be a concert by several Romani bands, including the famous Terne Čhave, and a film screening of the new documentary film "Life and Death in Tanvald" ("Život a smrt v Tanvaldu") followed by a discussion with producers Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda.

Date and time:  7 April, 18:00 start

Place: Cross Club, Plynární 1096/23, Praha 7 - Holešovice

Price:  Free

Dance performance "Gypsy Suite" (Cikánská suita) at Prague's Kampa Theater

"Gypsy Suite" is a dance performance inspired by the historic travels of Romani people from India, their modern European anabasis, and contemporary events. The production is dedicated in memoriam to its irreplaceable co-creator, Romani guitarist and singer Ján Slepčík. Staged by director Iveta Hessová, the performance features Marek Balog, Richard Samko, and others.

Date and time:  8 April, 18:00 start

Place: Divadlo Kampa, Nosticova 2a, Praha 1

Price:  CZK 150, ticket reservations at

Screenings of the film "Me, My Gipsy Family and Woody Allen"

From 8 - 11 April, four screenings of this film will be held for the 8th and 9th grade classes of schools in Prague 14. After the screening, pupils will be able to discuss with a debater and a moderator on the topic "Is it hard to achieve my aims (professionally) if I belong to a minority community living in the Czech Republic?" This documentary film was the debut production of a 19-year-old Romani woman and offers a non-traditional perspective on the Romani community.  

Round table on the topic of "Depicting Romani people in the media"

The ROMEA civic association and the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion are holding a round table which will be the first presentation of an analysis as to how the Czech media reports on Romani people. A discussion will be held with invited journalists and other personalities.

Date and time:  8 April from 11:00 - 13:00

Place:  TBA

Concert by Kale

On 10 April the famous band Kale will perform. The opening act will introduce the Romani children's ensemble Loli Ruža.

Date and time:  10 April, starting at 19:00

Place:  Kulturní dům Kyje, Šimanovská 47, Praha 9

Happening in the public space at the Rajská Zahrada metro station

On 13 April a musical happening will take place introducing two Romani bands, Roma Verdis (rompop) and Roma Trio (modern versions of old Romani songs and original compositions, featuring members of Bachtale Apsa) as well as three bands comprised of foreigners living in the Czech Republic:  Uganda Dancers (Ugandan dance, music and singing), Annas Ekvátor (Arabian-Iranian music) and Marimba Mamma (rhythms from West Africa). There will be traditional foods from all over the world and a program for children (live performances of Romani fairy-tales and arts and crafts workshops).

Date and time:  13 April from 14:00 - 18:00

Place:  The Rajská Zahrada metro station


Dr. W. R. Rischi, a linguist and Romani studies scholar from the Indian city of Chandigarh, where he later established the Indian Institute of Romani Studies, was a co-creator of the flag adopted in 1971. Dr Rischi passed away on 1 December 2002.

The Romani flag is comprised of two longitudinal stripes, the lower green one symbolizing Romani people's close connection to nature, and the upper blue their connection to heaven, or to the philosophical and spiritual realm. The wheel in the center, which covers both stripes, symbolizes pilgrimage and traveling and is based on the ancient Indian wheel of fate. The wheel originally had 16 spokes and its bright red color corresponds to the first chakra and the element of earth. 


The lyrics of the international Romani anthem, "Gelem gelem", were set to a traditional melody by the Romani musician and politician Jarko Jovanović of Belgrade, who lived for many years in Paris. It is also interesting to note that Czech and Slovak Romani people have their own anthem, "Čhajori romani", which was written in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The international anthem was not adopted by Czech and Slovak Romani people until the 1990s.

Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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