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13a, Lenina str., Perm, 614090, Russian Federation
Grand PhD (History), сorresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the Ethnological Research Sector, Department of History, Archaeology and Ethnography, Perm Federal Research Center, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
This paper is supported by the Grant of the Foundation for Basic Research project No. 17-11-59002 “Roma (Gipsy) communities of the Urals: history, traditional culture, ethnic processes”.
Basing on the materials of field studies of the Russian Roma (the Kalderash ethnographic group, Moldovaya branch), the article observes existence of texts of the Christian folk legends in one of the local traditions — that of the clan of Ruvoni (Perm). The goals of the study are to present and to publish the texts of the Christian legends of the Kalderash gypsies, to identify the peculiarities of their existence and to analyze the main plots and motifs.
Some of the main recorded plots and motives are the creation of the world, the genesis and the fall of the earliest human beings, the origination of different peoples, the Noah’s Flood, the birth and the crucifixion of Christ. Majority of the recorded legends are etiological and their core-type motif aims to explain the exclusiveness of the Gypsy community among other peoples of the world. There in the corpus of the recorded texts central position is occupied by texts which explain origin of the Roma people and their national peculiarity as a nomadic way of life and diversity in comparison with neighboring peoples. An emphasized “ethnic” focus is another distinct feature of the narratives. A Gypsy person appears as the the main character of the narratives usually. New Testament legends about Jesus Christ Crucifixion are the main legends which explain Roma exclusiveness. The plot of hidden nail for Crucifixion is represented in different versions. In return for easing of Jesus torture, Roma obtain cunning because “the God forgives everything to Gypsy”. A vast amount of the texts of the gypsy legends introduce only certain Christian motifs into the body of the mythological narrative. Active use and preservation of the texts as well as their updating is connected to the explanation of the Roma exclusiveness and closeness and these factors play an important role in the explanation of the Roma identity.
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