28 responses

  1. Corey
    November 8, 2013

    What a fabulous post and probably an even more fabulous book honoring a culture that has been persecuted, prejudiced against and ridiculed from the beginning of time. What a way to shed some light on an ancient culture. For me, the Gypsy culture is fascinating although I look at it from a distance. Being in a relationship with a “payo” I´m told of all their wrongs, what they´ve done and how they just love attention (ie: La Palabra Gitana and their elaborate weddings and communions), especially in the Spanish culture. However, it feels like a double standard since the common people are shamed and the fabulous flamenco singers are revered.
    Since I can remember, my own American grandmother has pointed her finger at them for kidnapping my great-grandfather to use him in the circus, only to leave him for dead in a field when they realized he was ill. I, like the author, had some hardships growing up which made me somewhat outcasted as well. Marginalizing an entire culture for what just a few of them do is sad and all too commonplace. I feel they are mysterious, passionate, and above all, misunderstood.

    • Susan Lostocco Nadathur
      November 8, 2013

      Hi Corey,

      We could be soul mates. Some of my best friends are Spaniards, but they just don’t get my connection to the Gypsies and have all sorts of negative things to say about the culture. Although I think that even they were impressed with the actions and attitude of Jose Luis Cortes after the abduction and subsequent murder of his daughter Mari Luz in Huelva in 2008. I met Cortes and worshipped with his family and friends. He is dignified and led by faith–as were most of the Gitanos I met. The “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” shows (both in England and the US) have not helped our understanding of Gypsy culture but done a whole lot to further the prejudice. The Gypsies I met had no money for extravagant weddings. Their weddings followed the Gypsy tradition of bedding a girl, and then taking her as a wife. I wish more people could see the humbler side of this fascinating culture.

  2. Kate
    November 8, 2013

    I’d be really interested to read this book, I’ve lived in Spain for two years and find the love/hate relationship between Spaniards and gitanos intriguing. I’ve asked my friends about it so many times about it but no one can seem to give me an answer that makes sense!

    • Susan Lostocco Nadathur
      November 8, 2013

      That’s the enigma of the Gypsy culture. Just when you think you have something figured out, they turn around and surprise you!

  3. Cacinda Maloney
    November 8, 2013

    Sounds fascinating, I remember my family being approached by the gypsy’s with the sage/herbs in Seville, it was one of the scariest moments, as we had no idea what they wanted, Looking back, we always remember this incident and would be interested in reading more about them and their culture.
    Cacinda Maloney recently posted..‘One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show’ The Rock of Gibraltar and Seville, SpainMy Profile

  4. Trevor Huxham
    November 8, 2013

    Super fascinating interview, Cat, and to Susan, thanks for taking an honest look at Spanish Gypsies. Living last year in Andalucía, los gitanos were often the butt of jokes by teachers at my school, and when it was time for me to move out of my apartment, my Spanish flatmates were very adamant about not living with a Gypsy or a “Moor.” O_O Yikes—although certainly not as shocking as that asshole’s comment about not serving certain people groups at a café. Unbelievable.

    Sorry if this comes off as pedantic, but I think a better definition of “payo” would be “non-Gypsy” rather than simply “Spaniard,” as that implies Gypsies are not Spanish people. Maybe not ethnic Spanish, but they’re still an integral part of what today makes Spain, Spain.
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..Photo Post: The Sierra de Segura Mountains in Eastern AndalucíaMy Profile

    • Susan Lostocco Nadathur
      November 8, 2013

      Hey Trevor, thanks for sharing your story. I can’t believe the blatant disregard for Los Gitanos in a classroom, supposedly a place of learning and education. No wonder the Gypsies don’t want to go to school! I’d love to interview you about your experiences with the Gypsy culture. Drop me a line at Susan.nadathur@live.com

  5. Lauren
    November 8, 2013

    I have just recently moved to Spain and am currently working in a school where the majority of the population are gypsies. A lot of the teachers that I work with make excuses for the students behavior by saying that they act that way because they are gypsies or they are undisciplined because they are gypsies, etc. I totally agree that they are marginalized group and stereotyped very heavily. I would be very interested in reading this book and seeing a different perspective of the gypsy culture.

    • Susan Lostocco Nadathur
      November 10, 2013

      Gypsy children can sometimes be Undisciplined, as can be any child from any culture. I think the challenge is in the context. Roma parents sometimes give their children more freedom in structured environments than what the mainstream will allow for. School teachers do not have any easy job. My hat is off to all of you.

    • Cat Gaa
      November 11, 2013

      That must be so strange! I remember being very put off by teachers making excuses for the students and wondering what family life would be like here. As Susan mentions, the Roma families have a different idea of growing up, and this seems to be where the discrimination starts.

  6. Luise Wagner
    November 8, 2013

    It is not that easy to be accepted as a #guiri in a Gitano environment. The book would really interesting. I would like to write a review. Let me know…

    • Susan Lostocco Nadathur
      November 9, 2013

      The Gitanos are very protective of their culture and don’t tend to let outsiders in. With all the negative stereotyping that surrounds them, I can understand why.

  7. Gran Canaria Local
    November 8, 2013

    One of our first friends at school was Pete, a gypsy. He only attended sporadically. When the fair was in town. And considering the town was a pretty conservative one, he got plenty of stick. We did our best to keep him out of trouble. He was twice the size of us, but he tended to lash out when he was getting picked on. Which meant he would be punished by the head rather than the original offenders. So, we just tried to encourage him to keep his cool. No matter what the provocation. We’d love to meet up with him for a drink. Wherever he may be.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..Playa del CuraMy Profile

    • Susan Lostocco Nadathur
      November 9, 2013

      Pete was lucky to have you on his side. I hope you can meet up with him some day and share that drink

  8. Kara of Standby to Somewhere
    November 9, 2013

    Just bought my kindle copy. Can’t wait to read it!
    Kara of Standby to Somewhere recently posted..Bye Bye BurgosMy Profile

    • Susan Lostocco Nadathur
      November 10, 2013

      Enjoy!

  9. Caitlyn
    November 9, 2013

    What an interesting book, I should give it a read. I first learnt a bit about the gypsy culture when I was guiding in Andalusia last year, and then a lot more this year when I was in places like Bulgaria. For some reason, it seems perfectly legitimate to be openly racist against gypsies particularly in those parts, yet everyone seems to love gypsy music most down there! It will take me a long time to understand it all, I think :)
    Caitlyn recently posted..Visiting Mostar, the non-Hamish and Andy wayMy Profile

    • Cat Gaa
      November 10, 2013

      Isn’t it odd!? Gypsy art is a huge part of the culture here, yet its people are looking down upon. Quite sad.

  10. Ayngelina
    November 10, 2013

    Fascinating, thanks for sharing this!
    Ayngelina recently posted..How to Make Pancetta in 30 SecondsMy Profile

    • Cat Gaa
      November 10, 2013

      It’s a really interesting paradigm, A. I’d imagine you’d seem some of it now that you’re in the Costa Brava area, and I hear Tarragona is quite the same with peope of Moorish descent. Spain has a past that, like the US, is full of immigration and cultural mixing, so it’s disheartening to sometimes see or hear the discrimination that’s still so present.

  11. Pedro Meca
    November 14, 2013

    a “payo” is a term only used by Gypsies to describe a non-Gypsy.

    i am sorry if someone gets upset with what i say, but most Gypsies i know or come across are evildoers, whether drug dealers or just treat their women as if they were rubbish, a dog values more than a woman according to how many of them act within their homes.

    of course there are Gypsies who are nice persons who live amongst other people, but they are a minority.

    • Susan Lostocco Nadathur
      November 16, 2013

      Hey Pedro, I understand why you might have this impression of the Gypsies. Some Gypsies are involved in drug dealing and other criminal activities. Many others are hardworking, simple folk just trying to make a living. I wish you could meet more of the good ones and less of the bad. Thanks for keeping your comment respectful, despite your unfortunate experiences.

      • Pedro Meca
        November 17, 2013

        i haven’t got any experience with Gypsies….how have you come up with it?

  12. Penny Sadler
    November 15, 2013

    This looks like a great read. Sign me up!
    Penny Sadler recently posted..Unusual Details of Venice: A Photo EssayMy Profile

  13. Katie Lynn Johnson
    November 16, 2013

    This sounds like a fascinating book, and one that I would enjoy reading. I have always loved reading about gypsy culture, and I’ve always been intrigued by groups of people who are labeled as “different.” Great post!

  14. Justine
    November 21, 2013

    I lived in Seville and thought the love/hate relationship was interesting. I feel like here in Barcelona where I live now there is less interest and respect for gitanos even though, yes some work hard at the markets, they have a bad name. I’d be interested in learning more!

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