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Traditional Occupations and Professions


brickmaking in Drienov, 1934Archive documents from the 16th and 17th century testify that the first Roma families, who were allowed to settle on the outskirts of Slovak towns and villages, were engaged in smithery and music. From the 18th century on, when the majority of Roma have changed to a settled way of life, the occasional work for farmers gained a greater importance to them. They also engaged in the work with natural materials. The knowledge of iron working was brought by the Roma probably from India. Up to the 20th century, many Roma blacksmiths preserved an ancient way of manufacturing.

 Brickmakers in Drienov, 1934
Roma musicians enjoyed a large popularity of café guests throughout HungaryIt can be assumed that subsisting by way of music and dancing was already practiced by the ancestors of the Roma in India. In the archives of the 18th century Roma musicians are mentioned in all areas within Slovakia. In the villages, playing music was considered a supplementary source of income, especially in the winter months, when weddings took place and various dance events. The Roma acquired the repertoire of folksongs of the local population and enriched it by their own interpretation.

 After World War II, due to the industrialization of Slovakia, gradually the demand for traditional products was declining, as well as the demand for performance of traditional music, furthermore the progressing of rural collectivization also changed the nature of the relationships. The Roma were included in to working-class category by the state, and were regarded as auxiliary workers.