Gypsy Religion: understanding the specificities of Travelers

The Gitant people live according to a complex set of rules which explain how to respect the elders, what rules to apply to administer justice, how to live an upright life and maintain one's honor... In short, there are a whole bunch of customs which are there to help us to live our lives.

In the middle of all this, the gypsy religion holds a very important place.

Inevitably, faith teaches the basics of morality and builds a human being's worldview. Understanding the religion of the gypsies could therefore help us to understand what drives the soul of this people.

The task is complicated, however: travelers do not follow a single religion but, on the contrary, have adopted the customs of the countries where they have been throughout history.

Thus, the Roma of India will be Buddhists, and sometimes even Muslims, while the European Gypsies, Gypsies and Manouches will be Christians.

It is precisely these that we will focus on in our article. Indeed, we are talking here about the gypsy religion, and not that of another traveling people.

This may seem obvious, but it should always be clarified because some people still make the mistake.

Contents :

Strong Christian roots!

Pilgrimages: logic for travelers

Some original superstitions in the gypsy religion

And the place of clairvoyance in all this?

The Jerusalem cross, a statue of Christ and a Templar amulet

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Strong Christian roots!

If you have ever met Gypsies, you will know that religion is something very important to many of them.

In fact, its teachings guide a whole host of elements of daily life: from rituals to beliefs and superstitions, travelers often have a fervent faith.

Already, the overwhelming majority of Gypsies are baptized, married and buried religiously. This is (unfortunately) rare enough for a people these days to emphasize it.

Most family gatherings and reunions also have religious connotations. Births and marriages, for example, are celebrated with great ardor in the gypsy religion.

Many gypsies also like to wear Christian cross pendants such as this one to mark their belonging to the community of Christ.

The Bible and the Gospels are central in their lives. Baptism, communions and marriage are always the same sumptuous celebrations. And both prayer and confession are still respected by many gypsies.

In short, most of the time, the Catholic religion will be the one that dictates their lives. Evangelical, Catholic, Protestant or Reformed: the churches frequented by travelers can be very diverse.

In recent years, it is interesting to note the appearance of new Christian movements, mostly evangelical Protestants, increasingly present in the community.

Bronze molding of a shell on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Pilgrimages: logic for travelers

Pilgrimage is a journey we make to a holy place.

More than just physical, a pilgrimage is above all an inner spiritual journey, a kind of contemplation and the opportunity to escape from the stress and uninterrupted hustle and bustle of our lives.

Without too much surprise, the gypsy religion is particularly marked by the presence of pilgrimages. It is undeniable that they are undoubtedly easier to implement for nomads than for sedentary people!

From the Vatican City to Lourdes, via Santiago de Compostela or even the Sanctuary of Fátima in Portugal, these are the main places in Christianity that Gypsies like to visit.

However, there is a particular pilgrimage which is (re)known to be specific to traveling communities: that of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

Every year in the month of me, Gypsies from all over the world come to this small coastal town in the South of France to participate together in several days of ceremonies (and festivals too).

The most important event of the pilgrimage is undoubtedly the procession of the Black Sara, a saint particularly venerated in the gypsy religion. A statue representing the Saint is then transported throughout the city, a large procession following it.

Often, the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer pilgrimage is also a time for families and friends to get together and, for certain children in the community, to be baptized.

If you are curious to learn more, here is an article that describes this pilgrimage point by point.

Tarot cards and a crystal ball of gypsy fortune tellers, next to a guitar pendant

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Some original superstitions in the gypsy religion

A life of travel is made up of adventures and anecdotes. When an entire people lives this way, it creates exceptional folklore and customs.

In particular, the gypsy religion includes a whole host of particular beliefs and superstitions.

Here are a few :

  • Magpies carry big problems. Cranes rather announce the arrival of friends. If the two steal together, the police are not far away.
  • It was customary for families to abandon, sometimes burn, the roulette wheel and possessions of a deceased community member to prevent their ghost from returning to haunt the living.
  • Giving away the last cigarette in your pack means you will be cuckolded within a year.
  • The wearing of lucky charms in the form of amulets or talismans is a constant in the gypsy religion.
  • Burning bread or flour brings bad luck.
  • If a cat licks its paws in the hallway, it means that guests are coming.
  • It is good to camp near a holly tree, because this tree is sacred.
  • A pregnant woman should not wear new shoes. Never.
  • Seeing a crow flying alone is synonymous with sadness, seeing two symbolizes joy.
  • If a woman walks past you carrying a pitcher of water, it's your lucky day. If, on the other hand, it is empty, expect great misfortunes.

Gypsy practicing clairvoyance through her talents as a magician.

And the place of clairvoyance in all this?

Gypsies have been maligned throughout their history.

In fact, we can see them outright as outcasts who, as a group, were rejected by other peoples.

Based on this, it's no wonder that they have been associated with bad things, even downright evil.

When we also know that many communities may have practiced divination and card drawing as a means of earning a living, it then becomes clear that they were linked to witchcraft.

Look at this collection dedicated to gypsy culture : it seems imbued with mystery and esotericism.

In short, it was not uncommon for residents of local villages to come and visit gypsy camps to seek “mystical” advice from clairvoyants practicing tarot, palm reading or even coffee grounds..

Faced with this, the Catholic Church accused them of practicing the occult arts but also of spreading certain diseases or kidnapping children.

Even if this image of the traveler-clairvoyant has somewhat gone out of fashion, it still has a lasting impact on people's idea of ​​the gypsy religion.

Lucky charm featured in this article

Pendant made of a Latin cross

Pendant made of a Latin cross

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author picture(Cyril Gendarme)

Discover the author: Cyril Gendarme

Cyril Gendarme is a writer whose website "The Lucky Door" ("La Porte Du Bonheur" in French, his native language) has become a reference in the field of esotericism. Born in Belgium, Cyril has been attracted to the mysteries of the world since he was a child. When his interest in occultism was awakened, a particular subject caught his attention: lucky charms.

After years of study and in-depth research on esoteric traditions from around the world, Cyril decided to share his knowledge with the public through the internet. In 2019, he launched "The Lucky Door," a website dedicated to exploring lucky charms, magical symbols, and esoteric arts.

The Lucky Door is much more than just a showcase for those curious about magic, divination, or tradition. It is the result of Cyril's passion for researching and understanding the mysteries of the universe. Every piece of information available on the site testifies to his dedication to sharing his knowledge of the most hidden symbols and their unique powers.

In addition to his online work, Cyril regularly organizes workshops and conferences in different countries. His presence on social media is also highly appreciated, where he offers personalized advice and happily answers questions from his community.