Good habits and respect for one’s parents – the basis of a culture

Roma culture is an international one, though there are major regional differences. In Europe, the basis of the Roma identity is the language, while in Finland it is their customs.

The distinctive customs of the Roma have not changed very much over the centuries. Some go back in time to their country of origin, India, and some to the Bible. Some are based on the mainstream Finnish culture.

Changing traditions

Both the customs of the mainstream population and of the Roma are gradually changing, along with other aspects of society. Roma culture has nonetheless retained customs that were once common among other Finns.

For example, only a hundred years ago, people in Finland had respect for food and older people, and people more or less dressed the same way as the Roma still do.

The cultures still have much in common. The Roma, for example, celebrate the same feast days, take sauna baths, and eat the same food as other Finns.

Just as traditions vary in other people’s homes, so too in Roma homes customs are practised in different ways. There is no one right way to be a Roma.

In this section, we look at Roma customs and consider why the Roma dress in traditional costumes and why Roma households are always clean and tidy.