Everything You Need to Know About Gypsies

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by: Melanie Radzicki McManus
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A Romany woman in downtown Prague, Czech Republic, dances during the World Roma Festival Khamoro.
Jan Susanka/isifa/Getty Images

Hear the word gypsy, and the image of a scarved fortune-teller likely pops into your mind. Or maybe you think of a band of traveling musicians and dancers in colorfully decorated wagons. The truth about gypsies is, of course, much more complex than a few outdated stereotypes.

Because gypsies, also known as Roma, have been persecuted worldwide for much of their existence, they don't typically trust outsiders and haven't shared much of their story. But today, more gypsies are speaking up so the rest of the world can understand and appreciate their culture. TV shows like "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" also aim to let us take a peek at their contemporary lives.

Read on for some insights into gypsy history and lifestyle.

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