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The Traditional Family Life of the Czech Roma

A number of differences exist between the traditional family life of the Roma and that of the Czechs, which arise from different approaches to life and can cause mutual misunderstandings. These differences result in the dissimilar demographic structures of the the Romani community and the Czech. The main difference is the lower average life span - Romani women: 59.5 years, Czech women: 75.4, Romani men: 55.3 years, Czech men: 67.8.

The arrangement of the Romani family life is also different because the Roma place importance on different values than the majority society. The professional life of the Roma is different for this reason as well, and is connected to the disparagement in education and a greater emphasis on the family than on work outside the family. Along with this strong family orientation comes the appreciation of a large number of children in the family, because the more children the family has, the happier it is. Parents don't so have to fear being out of work or an "empty nest" in their old age, as Romani women have children for their whole lives and the elderly enjoy great respect among the Roma.

This traditional approach to family life has changed in recent years, and the above-mentioned attributes have survived only in isolated communities, such as those in Eastern Slovakia. In spite of this, elements of these customs can be found in the life of the Czech city-dwelling Roma, though they may only exist as influences in the modern-day family life. Because of this, even though these traditions have experienced great changes, becoming more familiar with them can help one to better understand the Romani minority.

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