April 8 – International Roma Day symbolizes resistance, dignity, freedom and pride of Roma, and this date coincides with the anniversary of the Roma World Congress, which was held at Orpington, London, in 1971. This day also represents the glory of the Roma people and the peaceful resistance to save their language and the integrity of the Roma culture as a triumph over the ill-reputed history of slavery, holocaust and discrimination.
Roma people, together with their non-Roma friends, on this special date, organize different festive activities and advocate for a sustainable effort for the security and equal citizens’ rights for all Roma and promote cultural diversity as part of our shared cultural richness for all society.
May 6th, Ederlezi is the Roma feast of Saint George (Shën Gjergji). Traditional preparations include meals with pork, a pagan practice to sacrifice (an animal) perhaps in connection with the fact that Saint George is the Saint for shepherds. On this day, Roma youth celebrate with songs, dances and different games while holding a cross in their hands. One of the most typical games is the game of equilibrium that is between a man and a woman, which consists of standing up and spinning at the same time. This game for Roma demonstrates that on this day of Saint George, men and women are equal. Surrounding them are the spectators who celebrate and wait for other couple’s turn.
A traditional Roma song is dedicated especially for Ederlezi (Day of St. George) adopting its name and accompanied by “oro”, a Roma dance, meaning “circle” in Romani, derived from the Hebrew word “horah” which means to dance around. The “horah” has a foundational role in the Israeli popular dance of modern times, being as a well a symbol of unity of the people. The beautiful music of Ederlezi combined with the circle dance “oro” celebrate the union between Roma and the awaited arrival of spring.