International Roma Day to be Marked in Bulgaria
Bulgarian Roma across the country celebrate April 8, the International Roma Day.
The International Day of the Roma is a day of celebration of Roma culture, history and traditions. The Day also draws attention to discrimination directed to their communities globally and calls for all human rights to be respected and observed.
The day was officially declared in 1990 in Serock, Poland, the site of the fourth World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union (IRU), in honor of the first major international meeting of Romani representatives, 7-12 of April, 1971 in Chelsfield near London.
Many Roma communities all over Bulgaria mark April 8 with festivals, dance performances, concerts and tournaments, held in a number of Bulgarian cities and towns.
A memorial service for the Roma who lost their lives in concentration camps during the Second World War will be held in Sofia's St. Nedelya Church.
Europe's Roma population is reported to be between 10 and 12 million, while in Bulgaria they number around 320,000.
The most wide-spread theory is that Roma first came to Bulgaria around the 11th-12th century through the Byzantine Empire. The mass influx of Roma, however, begins with the Ottoman rule, when many Roma arrive in the footsteps of the Turkish army.