April 8th is International Day of the Roma!

The International Day of the Roma, April 8 is a day to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people. The day was officially declared in 1990 in Serock, Poland, the site of the fourth World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union. The first major international meeting of Romani representatives was in April of 1971, in Chelsfieldnear London, where representatives from India and some 20 other countries were in attendance. At the congress, the green and blue flag from the 1933 conference, now embellished with the red, sixteen-spoked chakra, was reaffirmed as the national emblem of the Romani people, and the anthem, Djelem Djelem,  written by Zarko Jovanovic in 1969, was adopted as the official Romani anthem. There are many versions out there but I choose this one by the Macedonian legend Ezma to share. Enjoy!

English Translation by Ron Lee

I have travelled over long roads
I have met fortunate Roma
I have travelled far and wide
I have met lucky Roma
Oh, Romani adults, Oh Romani youth
Oh, Romani adults, Oh Romani youth
Oh, Roma, from wherever you have come
With your tents along lucky roads
I too once had a large family
But the black legion murdered them
Come with me, Roma of the world
To where the Romani roads have been opened
Now is the time - stand up, Roma,
We shall succeed where we make the effort.
Oh, Roma adults, Oh, Roma youth
Oh, Roma adults, Oh, Roma youth.