International Romani Day is always marked on April 8th each year. It honors the first major international meeting of Romani representatives, April 7–12 1971 in Chelsfield near London.
Romani were originally traveling court musicians in parts of what is now India and Pakistan.
The Romani have their own language and culture. In the Middle Ages, they migrated to Turkey, France, Spain. In Spain, their culture mixed with Iberian, Jewish, Muslim and Moorish society and became identified as Flamenco. They are one of the most persecuted populations, targeted for extinction by both the Nazis and Communists, as well as several local governments in Asia and Africa.
In the early 1800s, many Romani came to the United States, Canada, Brazil and other nations in the Americas. There are an estimated one million Roma in the United States; and 800,000 in Brazil,