Hungary celebrates Roma culture on International Romani Day

Hungarian society has become more open to Roma culture, not least thanks to the role of famous Roma singers and musicians and Roma artists in popular television musical talent competitions

Hungary has become increasingly interested in Roma culture and more open toward the Roma community during the past year, according to Károly Czibere, minister of State for Social Affairs and Social Inclusion.

The minister made the comments during celebrations to mark International Romani Day, where he added that it is important that Roma and non-Roma people live together, and not just side-by-side.

The government is supporting all programs that improve dialogue, relations and trust between the Roma and majority society. The most important instrument in this is culture; majority society must be made more aware of the cultural treasures of the Roma people, because this enables the Roma to maintain their identity and open up towards majority society.

The minister emphasized that Roma living conditions have improved in recent years, the employment rate among the Roma has increased to above 40 percent and they are also less vulnerable to falling into poverty, although there is still much to be done.

International Romani Day is held on April 8 every year in memory of the first World Romani Congress held on that day in London in 1971 at which the Romani flag and anthem were adopted. In 1990 at the fourth World Romani Congress it was decided to declare April 8 International Romany Day, and subsequently the United Nations also ratified April 8 as the international day of Romani culture.