Lorrie Unites-Struiff researched like a mad woman for her paranormal mystery romance, "Gypsy Woman," published by Eternal Press (Buy the Kindle edition on Amazon). I asked her to fill us in on Gypsy lore. Take it away, Lorrie!
When I think of gypsies, I think of a nomadic people. I imagine colorful caravans, mystical fortune tellers and beautiful violin music. All romantic, don’t you think?
Researching for my modern Roma family depicted in my novella “Gypsy Crystal,” I found some interesting material.
For instance, one school of thought is that gypsies originated from Egypt, and were called, among other things, Egyptians, or ‘Gyptians, which is how the word “Gypsy” originated.
Today, there are over twelve million Roma living across the world. Many of them are living in the United States and Canada.
They tell many myths about their beginnings. I particularly like the one that tells of, one day while celebrating a holiday around a campfire, a stranger wandered into their camp, and as the usual way of a generous and happy people, they invited him to stay. Oooh, what a mistake.
This was the start of a curse, for this man was a necromancer and insisted the people serve him. The people refused, they loved life and refused to cheat death and serve chaos.
The necromancer raged and cursed them, saying they would forever wander the earth, never to settle and forever be outcasts. He disappeared into the night. The next night an army of the undead stormed and destroyed the land and their homes. Many died--or worse.
The survivors fled, regrouped, drew a circle in the dirt, drew their knives and shed drops of their blood into the earth. They vowed to serve balance and protect the land. When the last droplet fell, a strange feeling overcame them, like the land had embraced them. They heard a voice telling them they were to forever wander the land to preserve life at all cost and they now had the ability to curse their sworn enemies. And their greatest enemy of all was--the undead.
A chilling folktale, no doubt, and had shivers sneaking up my spine.
The Roma people like many others hold certain beliefs and superstitions. You may recognize some of them. I’ll only mention a few.
Good luck charms, amulets, and talismans are common among the Roma. They are carried to prevent misfortune or heal sickness.
How about that rabbit’s foot you carry in your pocket or the horseshoe nailed above your barn? Knock on wood? Throw salt over your shoulder?
Ceremonial events such as christenings, marriages, and religious festivals are occasions for community activity and sharing. They consume enormous quantities of food and drink during these celebrations, and the preparation is long and enthusiastic.
Ahem. I think most of us still go along with this one.
According to traditional Gypsy beliefs, life for the dead continues on another level. Sound familiar?
Gypsies put coins into the deceased’s coffin to help with their journey into the afterlife. Another familiar belief many share.
There are many more, but let’s save them for another day.
I remain the romantic. I still imagine the colorful caravans, the mystical fortune tellers and the sweet violin music under a moonlit sky. How about you?
Author of the paranormal romance “Gypsy Crystal”
Amazon Kindle Edition
Eternal Press Edition