The Finnish Kale (Romani: Kàlo; Swedish: Kalé; Finnish: Kaale, also Suomen romanit - "Finnish Romani", or Mustalainen - literally "Gypsy", often considered offensive) are a group of the Romani people who live primarily in Finland and Sweden. Their main languages are Finnish, Swedish and Finnish Romani. Kalo/Kale is the collective name for traveler people in Finland, England and Spain.[3]

Finnish Kale
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Finnish, Swedish and Finnish Romani
Lutheran and Pentecostal Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Norwegian and Swedish Travellers, Lowland Scottish Gypsy and Traveller groups, Romanichal, Kale (Welsh Romanies) and other Romani peoples

History edit

Three Finnish Romani women in the 1930s

The original Finnish Kale were Romanisæl who came to Finland via Sweden after being deported from Sweden in the 17th century. The ancestors of Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian Romani are English and Scottish Romani, who were deported from the kingdoms of Scotland and England.[4][5] In 1637, all Romani groups were declared outlaws who could be hanged without trial; this practice was discontinued in 1748.[6] When Finland declared independence in 1917, all Kales received full citizenship and rights. During the Winter War and Continuation War, about a thousand Kales served in the Finnish military.[7]

Culture edit

Dress edit

The traditional female Finnish Kale dress stems from the traditional dress worn by the ethnic Finn women. Until the turn of the 20th century, Kale and Finn women dressed much alike in blouses, long skirts, and waist aprons.[8] Over time and with increased wealth, the female Kale dress has become continually more decorated. The dress features a heavy full-length black velvet skirt worn relatively high at the waist, supported by padding, and a puffed blouse, often with prominent ruffles and lace, made of decorative cloth such as with sequins or a metallic sheen.

Music edit

Taisto Tammi in 1960

Music is a central part of Finnish Kale culture, everyday entertainment and domestic life. In Finland, the Kale are known especially for their contribution to the Finnish tango and Schlager music. Kale men have been a vital part of the Schlager scene since the start of the genre's popularity in Finland following World War II. At first Kale singers faced direct discrimination, and for instance were banned from performing at certain establishments either on principle or following Kale audience misbehavior. Taisto Tammi and Markus Allan [fi] were the two most important early Kale performers; both adopted artistic aliases to reduce attention to their ethnic background.[9]

Perceived problems of the Kale in Finland edit

Socioeconomic status edit

The Kale have traditionally held positions as craftsmen, but the occupation has lost its importance in modern times, leading to a significant rise in unemployment within the group.[10] A paper published by the Ministry of Labour states that "According to labour administration's client register material, 70% of the Roma jobseekers had a primary school or lower secondary school education." According to the same paper: "Education is compulsory in Finland and this obligation applies equally to the Roma as to other citizens, but dropping out of basic education is still common among young Roma, while in the mainstream population it is extremely uncommon."[11]

Violence and criminality edit

In 2007 police officer and boxer Riku Lumberg (of Romani heritage) wrote an open letter to his own people, seeking an end to the "barbaric tradition of blood feud" in the community.[12] Roma artist Kiba Lumberg has said the following about the culture she grew up in: "Blood feud and the violence that exists in Roma culture can't be discussed in Finland. We can't accept that some groups hide behind culture to excuse stepping on human rights and freedom of speech," and "the problem is, that when a Gypsy dares to speak in public about the negative things happening in their own tribe, they face death threats. If a white person opens their mouth, they're accused of racism."[13]

The Finnish Ministry of Justice indicated that in 2005, persons of Romani background (who make up less than 0.2% of the total population of Finland[1]) perpetrated 18% of solved street robbery crimes in Finland. By way of comparison, the slightly larger Somali population (14,769 as opposed to an estimated 10,000) were responsible for 12%, while ethnic Finns were responsible for close to 51%.[14] According to a 2003 report by the Finnish Department of Corrections, there were an estimated 120–140 Romanis in the Finnish prison system. The report discussed ways to combat institutional racism and discrimination within the prison system, as well as ways for improving rehabilitation of Romani inmates through, for example, education programmes and better cooperation with the Romani community at large.[15]

Finnish Romani in Sweden edit

From the 1950s, Finnish Romani have moved to Sweden, mainly due to better job opportunities and less discrimination.[16] Around 4,500 Finnish Romani live in Sweden. They are the only Romani group in Sweden who wear their traditional dress. In Sweden it is easier for Finnish Romani to get a job and an apartment due to more Swedish sounding surnames as well as a long tradition of multiculturalism in Sweden.[17]

Notable people of Kale descent edit

Remu Aaltonen

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Julkaisut". Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö.
  2. ^ "Suomen romanit ovat yli 4 000 ihmisen tuplavähemmistö Ruotsissa: "Suomi on meidänkin maamme"". Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  3. ^ "Factsheet. Kaale in Finland". Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  4. ^ "Romani, Kalo Finnish". Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  5. ^ Eltzler. Zigenarna och deras avkomlingar i Sverige (Uppsala 1944) cited in: Angus. M. Fraser. The Gypsies (The Peoples of Europe) p120
  6. ^ "Finnish Romani" (PDF).
  7. ^ "".
  8. ^ "Tie romanien elämään" (in Finnish). Suomen käsityön museo. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Music of the Finnish Romani: roaming and singing". FMQ. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2023.
  10. ^ "Romanit Suomessa Suomen Romanifoorumi". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Heikko koulutus pitää romanit poissa työelämästä" [Low level of education keeps Romani out of employment]. Keskisuomalainen (in Finnish). 11 September 2008. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2010.
  12. ^ Lumberg, Riku (19 August 2007). "Riku Lumbergin avoin kirje romaniyhteisölle" [Riku Lumberg's open letter to the Romani community]. Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Helsinki. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  13. ^ Varpula, Sari (16 August 2007). "Taiteilija Kiba Lumberg: Sieluni ei mahdu mustalaishameeseen". Sana (in Finnish). Helsinki. Archived from the original on 23 March 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  14. ^ Lehti, Martti (14 February 2008). Ryöstörikoskatsaus 2007 [Robbery Crime Report 2007] (PDF). OPTL:n tutkimustiedonantoja 83 (in Finnish). Helsinki: Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos. pp. 36–7. ISBN 978-951-704-350-2. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  15. ^ Romanien asema ja olosuhteet vankiloissa sekä yhdyskuntaseuraamusten suorittajina: Työryhmän raportti [On the status of the Roma and the conditions of prisons and community penalties performed: Task Force Report] (PDF). Rikosseuraamusviraston monisteita 2/2003 (in Finnish). Helsinki: Rikosseuraamusvirastolle. 20 January 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  16. ^ "2. Romer i Sverige".
  17. ^ "Tuhannet Suomen romanit löysivät pysyvän kodin Ruotsista – monien mielestä elämä on parempaa Pohjanlahden takana".
  18. ^ Rantala, Risto, ed. (1998). Kuka kukin on: Henkilötietoja nykypolven suomalaisista 1998 (in Finnish). Helsinki: Otava. p. 18. ISBN 951-1-14344-1.

Sources edit