National Roma Day", secularity and folkloric images of Brazilian Roma


I must begin this essay by recognizing the value of May 24, a date that promotes an important and unprecedented visibility for Roma people in Brazil. This tribute, from the public authorities points to fundamental rights, social inclusion, appreciation and recognition of a group historically marginalized by society. There is no doubt that the creation of a date to commemorate the existence, cultures, value and Roma participation in national history is a way to minimize and repair some consequences of racism and gynophobia practiced by the State and society for centuries.

Decree 10841 [2], signed by then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, "integrated a series of measures aimed specifically at this ethnic minority" [3]. This public recognition as a positive gesture was accompanied by the creation of the Roma Interministerial Working Group (CTI Cigano) under the premise that the specific demands of Roma were not being addressed by existing public policies. It was necessary to advance and meet this agenda, considering the ethnic and social aspects that defined the Roma communities. This is a first look that we can and should take in relation to May 24th.

On the other hand, it is necessary to observe the referred date from other angles, considering symbolic and cultural effects in the daily life of Brazilian Gypsy communities, whether in relation to their identification with the representations that are made of the date by the public authority, or by their meanings, associations and interests involved. Soon after the aforementioned decree, gypsies from different groups, segments, and places debated and discussed the choice of date, signaling the little participation of civil society in the process, since the tribute would be for a significant population, perhaps between 500 thousand and 1 million people. people.

I remember that during the days before the ceremony (we had a training agenda with the Ministry of Culture) that marked the first celebration of the Day of the Gypsy, held in May 2007 in the sumptuous Black Hall of the Palace of Justice, in Brasília -DF, many activists debated, critically, about the possible consequences of the relationship that the State would be promoting by associating “Santa Sara Kali Day” with the “National Day of the Gypsy”. In the "corridor" conversations, between one program and another, there was talk about constitutional secularism, the general non-identification of Brazilian gypsies with that saint and the commemorative differentiation in relation to April 8, International Roma Day.

With this short introduction, I will deal with a little more detail about the problematization that we have around the N

Writen by Igor Shimura