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International Romani Day 2024 – April 8

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International Romani Day - April 8 2024

International Romani Day is annually observed across the globe on 8 April to celebrate Romani culture and history and raise awareness of the challenges and discrimination issues faced by Europe’s largest ethnic minority community worldwide.

  • The Day commemorates the 1st World Romani Congress, a major international meeting of Romani representatives held near London (United Kingdom) in the town of Orpington in 1971.


During the 4th World Romani Congress held in Serock, Poland in 1990, April 8 was officially declared as International Romani Day.

Why April 8?

On 8th April 1971, the 1st World Romani Congress was held in London, Orpington, Kent, UK. The congress was organised by members of the Gypsy Council and the Comité International Rom(CIR)..

Points to Note:

i.1st World Romani Congress, the 1st Roma attempt at international cooperation, established the Roma flag, Roma anthem, and the common name ‘Roma’.

ii.The congress also decided to replace some terms, such as ‘gypsy’, which was being widely used in Europe despite its negative meaning, with the term ‘Roma’.

About Roma:

i.Roma are Europe’s largest and most discriminated ethnic minority, with 10-12 million Roma living in the EU and in the enlargement region.

ii.Roma is the general name given to a population that includes other groups, such as the Sinti, the Manouche, the Romiche, and the Kale, which are scattered worldwide.

iii.Many Roma in Western Europe are migrants from countries such as Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, and the former Yugoslavia.

iv.The Roma originate from the Punjab and Rajasthan areas of India.

  • Their ancestors emigrated from India approximately 1000 years ago and traveled through Asia to Europe and the Americas.

Romani Language:

i.A diaspora language, Romani has traversed through European history since the Middle Ages. It is also referred to as a ‘non-territorial language,’

ii.It is the only Indo-Aryan variety spoken outside the Indian sub-continent.

iii.Nazi elimination greatly impacted the Roma and Jewish populations in Europe, endangering their languages.

World Day of Romani Language:

i.In 2015, UNESCO proclaimed 5 November as the World Day of Romani Language at the proposal of the Republic of Croatia.

ii.The Romani language has about 33,000 words and encompasses 17 dialects, with mutual intelligibility among speakers.

iii.According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger:

  • Romani is ‘severely endangered’ in Bulgaria and Croatia.
  • It is ‘definitely endangered’ in Greece, Italy, France, Poland, and Romania.

EU Roma Strategic Framework 2020-2030:

The EU Roma Strategic Framework 2020-2030 has set targets that include:

i.Reducing the poverty gap between Roma and non-Roma by at least half;

ii.Decreasing the gap in housing deprivation faced by Roma by at least one-third; and

iii.Reducing the proportion of Roma children attending segregated primary schools.