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Marriage

Gypsies had very high morals and their young daughters were not allowed to spend time alone with young men. If a man asked to take out a girl they would have a chaperone for the evening. Boys and girls would meet each other on their site and spend evenings around the fire together with all the other family members or maybe they would meet whilst working potato, or hop picking. Sometimes a young man would give a girl he liked his diklo (scarf worn around his neck); if he saw the girl wearing it, he would know she liked him. If a young single girl still managed to get pregnant despite the high level of supervision she would have to marry as soon as possible.


Many Gypsies did not marry in a church and would instead have a ceremony called jumping the broomstick, a Romany wedding, or a simple ceremony of holding hands, which they considered to be binding; some couples would also have a ceremony at a local Registry Office.


First the Groom to be would need to seek permission from the girl’s father and if this was granted a ceremony would be organised. A huge wedding feast would be prepared and the groom would buy himself a cooking pot and made a bender for him and his new wife to live in.

Jumping the broomstick

During the actual ceremony the couple would hold hands as they jumped together sometimes over a bed of flowering gorse.

Holding Hands

The ceremony of holding hands was when the couple held hands in front of their witnesses and pledged their love for one another. A loaf of bread was broken and the couples thumbs were both pricked allowing a drop of blood to fall onto each end of the bread which was then eaten by the couple and the rest of the bread was broken over their heads.

After the wedding, there were great celebrations with singing, dancing, drinking and the wedding feast.

 

 

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