Clothing and Food
Gypsy women are recognized by their unique dress. The traditional Gypsy costume is a long colorfully pleated skirt that uses several yard of material. These skirts are generally of bright colors, often consisting of many layers. Bright chiffon, calico, and metallic fabrics are preferred over colors that are muted and dull. White is a taboo color as it is a color associated with mourning and death. Puffed sleeve blouses with low necklines are popular. (Although it is appropriate to show an ample bosom, Gypsies are modest about showing the lower parts of their bodies, especially the knees or thighs.)
Except for color a woman does not have a varied wardrobe. If a woman is married she must display that fact by keeping her head covered by a diklo, or headscarf. This varies with each clan, and while some keep this custom others, those in hotter areas, have adopted other customs to suit there surroundings. Women usually allow their hair to grow long, as a child most keep it braided, but not all. Gypsy women wear jewelry not only for its beauty, but also for its intrinsic value. Traditionally, acquired wealth has been converted into jewelry or gold coins called galbi, the latter sometimes worn on clothing as adornments, or woven into the hair.
As for men, there is really no characteristic clothing. They show a preference for bright colors. Gypsy men tend toward vests with loose fitting poet shirts in bright colors.
A brightly colored neck scarf may be worn on special occasions. Gypsy men tend to be stout in later years. It is considered a sign of prestige, of being healthy and "well-fed". Like the women, they appreciate fine jewelry and bangles.
FOOD AND SUSTENANCE
Traditionally the eating habits of the Gypsy people have been conditioned by their nomadic way of life. Their diet consisting of what is readily available. This includes fruits, berries, leafy plants, mollusks, and small mammals.
Coffee is drunk and is a staple of the Gypsy lifestyle. There is usually no lunch and dinner is served at sunset, or, since the food is generally cooking all afternoon, whenever anyone is hungry. The basic element of dinner is usually a thick vegetable stew. Sometimes meat is served generally broiled or cooked on a spit. Garlic is a very commonly used seasoning. Water is the most often served beverage during the course of a meal.
Ceremonial events such as christenings, marriages, and festivals are occasions for community activity and sharing. Enormous quantities of food and drink are consumed during these celebrations, and preparations are long and enthusiastic. On these special occasions beer, wine, and other spirits are substituted for water at the meal.
Marime taboos extend to animals as well, from the edibility of certain types of meat to pet ownership. Romaniya, gypsy law, prohibits cruelty to animals and they may only be killed for food. The eating of horse meat is a serious offense. According to customs of certain tribes, any Gypsy eating horse meat may be severely punished or banished from the tribe. The relationship of the horse to the Gypsy has historically been such a close one that it is unthinkable to eat this animal. Cats and dogs are also forbidden as foods.
Dogs and cats are considered polluted because of their unclean living habits. Gypsies consider cats particularly unclean because they lick their paws after burying their waste.
Magic and WAr
Out of Play