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Who are the Gypsies
The gypsies are a nomadic people found all over Europe. They are said to be the descendants of North Indian Banjaras who migrated many millennia ago. Over the years they have adapted to the regions where they roam, but have retained certain similarities in dress and culture to each other and to their origins. A colorful tribe, they travel in richly decorated carts. They are associated with joyous folk dances and fortune telling.
What is a Gypsy party?
A gypsy party is a fun event where you create the ambience of a gypsy (or a Banjara) settlement. It should be colorful and vibrant with lots of mirror work and glitter.
Keep tambourines handy and get some practice with basic dance steps which can be followed by your guests for a fun evening. Use any rhythmic folk music. Check out the Lambadi and the Kalbelia banjara dances for ideas.
What kind of clothes should be worn?
Traditional Banjara dress is a long gathered skirt that uses several yards of material. Normally in bright colors with mirror work, embroidery and prints these are teamed with short kurtis or mirror work cholis or even long fitted kurtas. Puffed sleeve blouses with low necklines can also be worn for the gypsy look. A chunni or a headscarf to cover the hair is also part of the costume.
Gypsy women wear lots of jewelry made from silver, brass, gold, cowries, ivory and animal bone. They wear these from, quite literally, head to toe.
Banjara men wear churidars or jodhpurs with short gathered angarkhas for North Indian banjara, and krtas with short, many layered dhotid from the South. For the gypsy look wear vests with loose fitting poet shirts in bright colors and narrow pants. Bright Scarves, silk handkerchiefs, bandanas all add to the look. Men also wear jewelry, so wear some chains and thick bangles and earrings to complete the look.
A brightly colored neck scarf may be worn on special occasions. Like the women, they appreciate fine jewelry and bangles.
What is the décor for a Gypsy Party?
Seating is on the floor with colorful, mirror work cushions and random chairs add to the look. Use gaily colored carts and create tents with colorful fabric in corners of the room. These tents can be used to seat your fortune tellers: friends dressed for the part who can play at being tarot card readers, palm readers and crystal ball diviners. Use lanterns instead of normal lights. It adds to the sense of being outdoors!
Banjaras and gypsies are famous for metal work especially farm implements. So get some from the market and place them in some strategic corner like a footpath display. You can also have a wood fire with a pot cooking on it if you have this outside.
What should the menu be?
Food should be free flowing as they mostly ate when they were hungry.
Serve any kind of food as they always adapted to what was available.
Assorted nuts and wafers
Three Main Meal Options
- Stews and Haleem were favorites with certain tribes
- Rotis with dal, meat and vegetables
- Biryani or Tehri with dahi
Cakes or Laddus
Regular drinks from the bar will do.
Photo Source: gersyko.blogspot.com