Transylvania’s Gábor – between tradition and modernity

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Published on April 17, 2021 by

For 500 years, Transylvania’s Gábor people have held onto their values and rituals. This film explores the insular world of the Gábor Roma, and asks whether they can maintain their traditional lives in a globalized world.

The Romanian village of Karácsonyfalva is the center of the Gábor Roma community. More than 1,000 Gábor live there. The men wear large black hats, the women long skirts. The men travel all over Europe as traders, while the women raise the children. Most Gábor belong to the Adventist denomination. Many only learned to read in order to study the Bible. Abstaining from pork and above all from alcohol and tobacco makes them targets of curiosity. Considered aristocratic among the Roma people, the Gábor have their own laws in all areas of life. Problems are solved within the community; in cases of conflict, even the police turn to the community leaders. Their biggest and most important celebration is the wedding, the foundation of their society. Gábor marry exclusively among themselves. For this reason, girls are removed from school at age 11 and married at 14. Boys move from organized education to the “school of life” at 14. This documentary follows the marriage of 14-year-old Mundra to 16-year-old Bobbi, while giving a portrait of their families and the wider community. For the first time, they share an insight into their exciting, colorful, contradictory and insular world, in which wealth and poverty collide. This is a tight-knit community, one caught between tradition and the pressures of modernity.
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