The Church of Cheese: Gypsy Ritual in the American Heyday

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Gemma, Dec 1, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
A rare inside look at Roma culture, ritual and belief at its peak in the American Gypsy experience - A Disapora spread over five continents, Gypsies conjure the romance of a nomadic life, a nostalgia for a simpler time. We think of dancing Spanish Gypsies or French jazz guitarists or a Romanian king. Gypsies have yet to enter the American public consciousness, yet they have been arriving since the late sixteenth century. Columbus brought several, forcibly transported to the Colonies, and many Americans today may count, unknown, a Gypsy or two among their forebears. A legacy of misfortune and mistrust lives on in Gypsy blood, and glimpses into their lives are rare. A young anthropologist drawn in by a Gypsy matriarch had no idea her life?s work would be witness to this hidden culture and its dilution over decades of cultural adaptation. From 1966 to 2000 Carol Miller lived among the Machvaia during their Heyday. Here are her stories about creating a bounty of good luck made by good times: three-day weddings, opulent slavi (saint days), baptisms, holidays, parties, and fabulous offerings for the Dead Ones. "The Heyday," this particular heyday, is done, and we will not see its like again.
 

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Contents

Crazy for Love Roses Story
1
Meeting the Machvaia
15
Luck
21
Feeling
37
Food
51
Saints and Slavi Posno and Fridays
67
Holidays Parties and Gifts
85
Elvis and Travolta
95
Happiness and Weddings
131
Boria DaughtersinLaw
145
Respect and Purity
153
Krisa and Conciliation
171
Leaving the Gypsies Milanos Story
183
The New Church of Cheese
203
Po Drom in America
219
Bibliography
229

Ghosts Grief and Ancestors
103
Commemoration of Death
123
Glossary
235
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Carol Miller is an anthropologist who has studied the Machvaia Roma of California. Gypsy ritual, belief and celebration are the topics of most of her scholarly publications. Carol Miller lives in Seattle.

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