KHAMORO World Roma Festival resumes parade in Czech capital

The parade of performers of the KHAMORO World Roma Festival passing through the center of Prague, Czech Republic. (2022). (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

The annual parade of Roma dance and music ensembles again passed through the center of Prague, Czech Republic, shortly after noon on June 3, as part of the KHAMORO cultural festival, the 24th edition of which has just taken place in the Czech capital. About 200 artists gathered in Wenceslas Square and moved to Old Town Square, where they were gradually joined by residents and tourists.

The festival, which has offered concerts, exhibitions and theatrical performances since May 29, closed with a gala concert by Roma musicians on June 4. The program of the festival, organized by the NGO Slovo 21, is on the website of the event.

The parade was broadcast live on the Internet by ROMEA TV. Roma dancers and musicians from different parts of the Czech Republic met in the lower part of Wenceslas Square shortly after noon and walked down Na Příkopě Street to Old Town Square.

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The procession, which was led by a decorated horse-drawn carriage and people with flags, stopped several times along the way. Folk dance artists, including children’s dance ensembles, performed in front of spectators in Ovocný trh and Celetná Street.

After arriving at the Jan Hus monument in the Old Town Square, the procession split up and each ensemble again performed there separately. The festival and traditional parade through the city has resumed after a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and government measures related to its suppression.

The subtitle of this year’s festival was “Let’s get together”, according to Slovo 21 director Jelena Silajdžic. The festival featured groups Connection and Imperio from the Czech Republic, an Israeli quartet called the Mediterranean Gypsy Swing Experience and a brass band, The Elvis Ajdinovic Orkestar.

The group Le Chavendar and the dancers of the Ballet Lucia Guarnido Studio performed on Saturday at the Archa Theater in Prague. The festival also featured a performance by some members of Ukraine’s only professional Roma theater ensemble, Teatr Romans, who fled to Poland before Russia escalated its war on Ukraine in February.

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According to the organizers, KHAMORO (“Sun” in Romanesque) is the largest festival of professional performers from the Roma community in the world. Prague has hosted the festival since 1999.

In recent years, around 10,000 people have visited the event each year. The KHAMORO procession through Prague was first organized in 2001.

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