Since , Travellers have been recognised as an ethnic group and are protected under the Race Relations Act in the UK. Education Being on the road means traveller children often grow up outside of educational systems. Which means they suffer educational and social exclusion if they do attend school.
Many children never attend school, while others are illiterate because formal education is not a priority in the gypsy culture. Traveller girls are often taken out of education prior to secondary school to prevent them mixing with boys from other cultures. Religion The vast majority of travellers are Roman Catholics. All Travellers are baptised as infants, receive first communion around eight years of age, and are confirmed between thirteen and eighteen.
Irish Travellers believe, as the Roman Catholic church teaches, that there is an afterlife. Occupations Many Travellers are breeders of dogs such as greyhounds or lurchers and have a long-standing interest in horse trading. The main fairs associated with them are held annually at Ballinasloe in Ireland and Appleby in the UK.
They are often involved in recycling scrap metals. The majority of employment is either self-employment or wage labour, so incomes vary greatly from family to family. Most families choose to keep their financial status private. Grabbing Until they are engaged, some teenage traveller girls are subjected to the 'grabbing' courtship ritual, where a boy grabs a girl they want to kiss. Strict rules stipulate girls aren't allowed to approach boys, so it's up to the males to tempt the girl away from her friends.
Grabbing can look violent and it seems the girls simply accept it as something that is part of their culture.
Dating etiquette Although gypsy girls wear very promiscuous clothes at parties, communions, proms and weddings, their morals do not reflect this. Travelling communities believe in the principle of no sex before marriage and girls who break this code are considered dirty and risk being left on the shelf.
Unmarried young men and women are not allowed to socialize alone together because of the emphasis on female chastity. Marriage and Weddings Couples marry young - girls at around 16 or 17, and boys between 18 and They're not supposed to marry non-travellers but marriage to second cousins in families is common.
Once married, the man rules the roost. The girls have large princess-style dresses, tiaras and extravagant wedding cakes. Weddings are seen as huge social events where travellers can get together. They're also perfect places for men to look for dates.
Health Life expectancy is low for women and men, with one third of travellers dying before the age of Traveller women are more likely to miscarry or have a still-born child compared to the rest of the population because of a reluctance to have examinations during pregnancy. Domestic abuse in marriages often goes unreported because calling the police could lead to being disowned by the community.
Law and Privacy Because Gypsies are private about their lives, not a lot is known about the 'gypsy law'. It is thought that the law protects travellers from external and internal threats, but also serves as a code that organizes their society. The law serves to protect traveller interests, rights, traditions, and ethnic distinctiveness.
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