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Fortune Teller

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Truth n' Lies behind Gypsy Fortunetelling - Begging - Stealing

What you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask 

- an original by
Chuck Todaro

   The market place is one of the best places to observe the Gypsies in action; it’s their home away from home; it’s where history comes alive before your very eyes.  The market place, like the agora, is open to all social classes, from senators on down to the lonely slaves. It was here, only here, where the ranks moved freely. There is a true sense of equality about the market place – all had but one cause – to buy or sell. It didn’t matter who you are or where you come from, the people of the market place see but one color, the color of money.

    The marketplace at Constanta, set between the train station and bus terminal, brings a steady flow of shoppers of all different styles and budgets, including more than a few naive, “out of towners” with money to spend.  “Where there's wealth – comes the Gypsies” has been the Gypsy mantra since their arrival. The marketplace becomes a montage of Gypsy styles; along the outer gates Forest-Gypsies hawk mushroom, nuts and berries out of buckets; merchant Ursari sell retail by their kiosk; outside along the perimeters where police won’t bother them poor Muslim Horahane stretch out over the dirty pavement, an outstretched open hand identifies their trade.  Fluttering through the maddening crowd in neon-orange and yellow dresses like butterflies pass the come-and-go Layesh, also known as Tent Gypsies for their nomadic spirit. Their glamorous apparel catches people’s attention and heads turn. It’s this utility of the style that brings to mind the opinions of sociologist Johnny Duminica of Moldova that it’s the economic pursuits that have mostly influenced Roma culture and styles.




Tzigania Project is sadly no longer able to freely offer our exclusive research online due to plagiarism and other unconsented usage of our material.

 Our movement has always strongly believed in sharing objective truths of Roma history and culture as a means of combatting the abundance of misinformation and biased opinions feeding the stereotypes.

 Our excusive research is still freely available at our learning center locations. Contact us with ANY questions:

   One of the most public displays of the Gypsy fortuneteller came through in the artwork of the renaissance. An immensely popular theme was their trickery, that while one hand prophesized the client's future, the other hand pilfered … Was the Gypsy truly a con artist as the painters implied?   Not if the spiritualist truly believed in her special ability, and the answer to that question is yes, they genuinely did.  Roma religiously believed in the good and bad powers of the spirit world, of walking dead (mulo) and the evil eye (jakhalo) and they had their own set of rituals protecting themselves from these everyday dangers. It was always the women, the Roma priestesses, administering the spells. They were seen as possessing God-given supernatural powers endowed through the miracle of child birth and that spiritual link into the celestial space of unborn souls.  The powers increased with age and which she could take along a path of white or black witchery.

Fortuneteller                 Close-up Fortuneteller

View more: Gypsy Fortunetellers in the arts

    The Gypsy arrival in Europe in the 14th and 15 centuries had been good times as they were valued for the trade skills that they had improved on in civilized Byzantium where all the latest techniques were being used. The under-developed Balkans welcomed them.....


For every gypsy that comes to town,
A hen will be a-missing soon,
And for every gypsy old,
A maiden's fortune will be told.


    It’s not surprising that Roma today describe their character as “fearful”. For this reason they tend to cluster and never leave the security of the community alone.  These insecurities came from the public’s habit of jumping to conclusions and the “guilty till proven innocent” perception.....

    According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Human Rights, one in three Roma is unemployed and 90% live below the poverty line. For many Gypsies stealing or begging comes down to a simple matter of survival. In Hetea village in central Romania locals earn a few dollars a day selling forest fruits and nuts at the market. “The Gypsies from here don’t steal – they beg” explains Gigu, the bus driver taking the Gypsies to the city with their buckets of mushrooms and children in tow.  While parents hawk their wares children and babies tug tailcoats begging spare change. The little extra puts bread on the table or butter on the bread and sometimes it makes the difference between going to bed hungry or not.  

    Begging has been an input to the Gypsies income since the medieval period..... w


Home of one Romanian-Roma "Fagin" bosses


    Experience tells us that the bad events in our memories have the tendency to overshadow the good, which carrying over to our histories – world histories – and subsequently the history of the Gypsies.  Though records of the Gypsies mostly often capture their less honorable moments, they were quite often commended and sought after for their skills, cheap labor and entertainment.  Besides the magic, theft and begging behavior, poverty would become their most noted quality beginnings with one of the earliest observations on European soil, "we proceeded through the suburb, which is inhabited by many poor black naked people who live in little houses roofed with reeds… They are called Gypsies. *3.  

Chuck Todaro 



**Joseph Bryennius (ca. 134o-ca. 1431)

 The Gypsies in the Byzantine Empire and the Balkans in the Late Middle Ages

Author: George C. Soulis

Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 15 (1961) P 147


**((Anton Maria Cospi, Il Guidice Criminalista, a magistrates handbook, 1643,,,

*3 15th century traveller Arnold von Harff,

*4 19th century 
(satuirday magazine vol 6
No 161 january  1835
P 39,,,
emilien R D Frossard


*UK Daily Mail
5 By Damien Gayle. Published Sept 8 2013