Gypsy Dances


Edirne the Gypsy Town

As all of Europe flowed to Middle East to save Jerusalem from the Muslims, one nation moved towards Europe. Though the Europeans enjoyed the company of these people, they have later thought they might be Turkish spies, treated them badly and isolated them. The greatest evil against the Gypsies was performed by Nazis who slaughtered millions of them in the 20th century.
These people were called by many names, mostly bad ones. It is unclear how many gypsies exist in Turkey let alone the world.However, various sources suppose the presence of 5 – 11 million in the world and 500.000 – 5 million gypsies in Turkey. Most of Turkish gypsies occupy the region of Marmara, especially Thracia area.
Having spent a long time with nomadic lifestyle and working as seasonal labour, gypsies were forced to adapt to settled life following the industrilisation of irrigation. Settled gypsies usually occupy professions like musician and flowerselling. Failing a full syncronisation with the settled lifestyle due to a lack of education and absence of sufficient employment, gypsies are the most disadvantegous anda re in need of positive discrimination in Turkey.

İlle de roman olsun

Kırmızıyı severler
Birbirini överler
Romanlar böyledirler
Çalgısız yaşayamaz ölürler
İlle de roman olsun
İster çamurdan olsun
Oda Allah kuludur
Her kim olursa olsun
Düğün dernek ederler
Etsiz yemek yemezler
Romanlar böyledirler
Çalgısız yaşayamaz ölürler


Kakava (Umuda Yolculuk)

Kakava günü geldiğinde
Biz çadır milletinde
Ne kir kalır ne de pas
Ne gam kalır ne de yas
Kurban edip nice kuzu
Karşılarız Nevruzu
Derken Bozatlı Hızır gelir
Bizden derdi tasayı alır
Bize de yiyip içmek kalır
Çalıp söylemek kalır
Gülüp oynamak kalır
Bir de umutlarımız kalır
A. Avami

Gypsies of Edirne and Music

Gypsies possess outstanding musical capabilities. Music is usually a lifestyle for gypsies. As the poet says: “They will die without music.” Being one of the most revered gypsy musicians, also called as Deli Selim (Selim the Mad) is a clarnette performer as well as composer.
Supposing his competence with the sentence “When I am high, I can get the grass in front of Selimiye Mosque up and dancing” ,Deli Selim was the “most wanted” man for the weddings in the region. For years, most mothers have set this as condition to the groom: “Deli Selim will make the music in the wedding!”

Gypsy Terms

Hıdrellez: According to a common and variant belief Hızır and İlyas, meet every year the night of 5 May to reanimate the nature. Therefore this date refers to the end of winter and the beginning of summer. This event is celebrated in different ways in each region: Hıdrellez, Kakava, Ederlezi, Edirlez, Djurdjevdan hedirles… In Edirne and Kırklareli Hıdrelleze and Kakava it is celebrated joyfully. Fortune Defaulting, wishing, lighting fire and jumping over the fire, burning old furniture, having picnic by the waterside, lamb‐goat barbecue,music, dance and intent pot are the most common activities during Kakava. Invitation cards of Old Edirne Kakava were quite interesting. These festivities used to be held in Şeytan Deresi (Devil’s River) in Kırklareli.
Niyet Küpü (Intent Pot): Mountain flowers and buttons, rings and other small accessories are collected from all the youngs in one of the pots while pieces of paper with lyrics are collected in another one. The two pots are placed under a rose bush. In the morning of 6th May, accessories and a paper with lyrics are taken from the pots one by one. The lyrics are read to the concerned person while having fun. In some regions, only one pot is used. The lyrics are read by an experienced individual or by the whole group.Before or after each lyric, an accessory is drawn from the pot and the individual to whom the lyrics will be referred to is determined. This event is called “mortufal” or “mantıfar” in some regions where the word is most probably derived from the root “martaval”. The activity of choosing the sets of songs in radio and dedicating these to specific individuals may be seen as a different version of this tradition.