On Monday 8th July 2019, RCAC organised the 2019 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month Celebrations for Wales at St David’s Hall in Cardiff. The event was opened by Jane Hutt, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip.
There were films, live performances, art, and exhibitions that showcased the cultural diversity of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community in Wales. The public was astonished and engaged by the amazing skills, heritage, stories, history, art, theatre and dance that were displayed throughout the day.
Whatever people’s background, ability, perception or age, a range of people came and joined in this ever growing annual event that provides fun for all the family.
Isaac Blake Director of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company says “We are proud to have led on this successful programme again in 2019. It is exciting to be able to link up so many different communities to celebrate tolerance and diversity.”
Dr Adrian Marsh, “Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month is the opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary genius of the Romani and Traveller communities in all their rich diversity and their contribution to Welsh and more broadly, British society, in the face of almost overwhelming prejudice and intolerance. The Romani language has influenced popular English, with words such as “dad”, “pal”, “kushti” and others that even appear in Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ (dukka me, or ‘I fortell’); Romani culture has brought the fairy-tale from its Indian origins to Britain, herbal lore and medicines, puppets, plays and mummery; all these owe their origins or were profoundly influenced by Romani culture from the east. Metal-working and complex smithying were trades that were carried by Travellers and Romani communities through the British Isles, along with horses and trading in dogs, birds and rabbits. Fortune-telling and entertainment of all kinds were widely considered to be the prerogative of Romani people from the mediaeval period to the early twentieth century, especially in rural Britain. Much of what is considered English, Scottish or Welsh ‘folk’ music and dance owes its existence to Romani traditions and Irish ‘traditional’ music is almost entirely based in the heritage of the Travelling people. The History Month is a chance to rediscover the contribution to the past and the present that Romani and Traveller people have made and to recognise that our history has been hidden.”
Jane Hutt, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip said: “As a society, we need to ensure we’re open and tolerant of all communities, and events such as these help to build relationships and have a better understanding of the cultural significance of marginalised groups.“The Welsh Government are committed to improving equality, providing opportunities and narrowing the gaps experienced by Gypsies, Roma and Travellers throughout Wales.”