Saturday, 13 April 2013
We always try to prepare an interesting and wide reaching programme for members. On 19th March our speaker was Philip Godliman who spoke with great enthusiasm about the Romany Gypsies who originated in India and Egypt. They have their own language and Philip gave examples of this.
They lived in Wagons or Vardos and also made up Bender Tents to sleep their family. They needed to roam freely and were very aware of the countryside and respected it. When they were leaving an area to move on they would clear any rubbish and replace a patch of turf, removed for a fire. When they left, no-one woul have known they had been there. Cleanliness was an important issue. The Romany term "Mokkadi' refers to the rules of washing clothes, themselves and food preparation. Dogs were never allowed inside the Vardos.
To earn money the women would do Fortune Telling at fairgrounds and seasides. Also sell wooden clothes pegs, primrose baskets and wooden flowers made by the men. The men dealt in horse trading and the most important day of the year were the annual horse fairs. They also did knife grinding door to door. A way for the whole family to make money was Hop Picking and Fruit Picking. These ways of making money are no longer available, and the majority of Romany Gypsies now live in houses. They are the largest ethnic minority in Kent and the South East.
This talk drew people of Romany origin and others to our meeting and was generally thought to have been one of the best talks we have had.