THE ANALYSIS OF ROMA RELIGIOUSNESS BASED ON THE RITUAL OF THE OATH BEFORE THE CROSS (Analiza religijnosci Romow na przykladzie rytualu przysiegi przed krzyzem)
(Title in Roma language: Analiza e Rromenqere religiozitetaqeri p-o materiali e colaxesqero angil trusuleste). In Roma settlements of western Slovakia one can still come across the ritual of taking an oath before the cross. Such practices are used in cases of marital infidelity and their substance lies in the very act of taking the oath (I swear I am faithful to my husband/wife). The oath is taken at night, before a cross, by a man/woman accused of adultery and is accepted by their husband/wife, whereupon the status of a faithful spouse is confirmed/restored. By this act the problem of the couple and the whole community is brought to an end. It is a traditional ritual which, as we indicate, is a remnant of the old Roma judiciary system. Setting aside the external aspects of the oath, symbols used etc., which have undergone contamination with Christianity, one can discern that the inner logic of the ritual is magical throughout. Our conclusion, based on this fact, is that under a layer of the obvious Christian elements, a magical structure can be found, making up the essence of religiousness in Roma settlements.
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