Gipsy (Romany) legends about the Crucifix of the Lord Jesus Christ

Friday, 12th September 2014


There are a couple of curious Gipsy legends regarding the Crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the legend claims that the gypsies which were present on the Lord’s crucifix, tried stealing the nails because of Love for the Lord to prevent crucifixion and for this deed of them some legends say the Mother of God the Holy Virgin Mary blessed them to steal from all nations, also the legend said this give the Gipsys permissions to steal without breaking one of the 10th commandments “Thou shalt not steal“. Of course this legends are mainly circulating in gipsis communities mainly in Europe and we should consider and as every legend its probably just a myth, however I decided to place the legend here on my blog because while living in the Netherlands for 2.5 years I have been helped and had the opportunity to live among Bulgarian gipsy community and I was fascinated on the strongness of gipsies family relations – which in this time of family break up and lack of respect is quite of a blessing. It was also evident for me gipsies know how to keep together and support each other, something becoming more and more rare in the “highly civilized” but less and less mental / spiritual western world which in its intellectual revolution forgot how to live simple and free life which was originally given to us by God Almighty.

There are other variants of the legend also, some say it was a gipsy blacksmith which was ordered to prepare the nails for Jesus’s crucifix, other probably more modern Gipsy legends claim that a gipsy stole one of the 4 nails for the Crucifix and this is why the Lord was crucified with 3 nails (1 nail piercing both of his legs as Roman Catholic cross does) – however this legend is untrue because in the ancient Christian tradition it was 4 nails with which the Lord Jesus Christ was pierced on the cross. Another of the legends (probably not originating from Gipsys says), it was a gipsy blacksmith who made the nails to crucify Jesus Christ, beacuse of that the (Gipsys) were condemned to wander the earth and never settle.

Another version does not condemn blacksmiths. It says that the blacksmith was addressed by God in a dream, where he was told to make four nails, but only hand over three, as the fourth was intended to pierce the heart of Jesus. In return God gave his descendants the right to wander the earth (rather than cursing them to it) and also the right to steal from non-Romanies, without breaking the commandment Thou shalt not steal.

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2 Responses to “Gipsy (Romany) legends about the Crucifix of the Lord Jesus Christ”

  1. pedro says:
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      The Bellows
      From — MacDonald, a tinker woman, Castlebay, Barra
      After they had brought Christ to the cross they found that they had no
      nails to put into Him, and that neither had they bellows with which to
      blow the fire to heat the iron to make nails. There was no knowing under
      the white sun what to say or what to do in the confusion that was there.
      But the tinker woman lifted her skirt and blew the fire, and the iron was
      heated, and the tinker made the nails with which Christ was nailed to the
      tree of crucifixion. It was then that Jesus Christ the Son of the living and
      eternal God, up on the cross, said to the tinker woman down at the foot,
      * Thou and thy kind from generation to generation, from age to age,
      shall be walking the ways and travelling the wilderness, without rest of
      night, without peace of day, because of the work of thy hand and thine
      ill deed.'
      It is not right to aid evil nor to help in ill-doing even though we should
      be asked and though we could do it ; no, not at all (said the narrator).
      In consequence of the tinker woman's action, it is forbidden in the Isles
      to blow the fire with one's skirt or apron. It is also forbidden to turn the
      peat burning side upwards in the fire, for the smith who made the nails
      did so.
      The Whitesmith
      When Christ was being taken to the tree of crucifixion, in the hurry the
      black Jews forgot to provide themselves with nails. They went to the
      blacksmith and asked him to make nails to nail the hands and the feet
      of the Saviour to the cross. But the blacksmith refused to make nails for
      such a purpose. The Jews went to the whitesmith (tinsmith, tinker) and
      asked him to make nails to nail the hands and the feet of the Saviour to
      the cross. The whitesmith did the work as the Jews asked of him, and the
      hands and the feet of Christ the blessed Saviour were nailed to the tree of
      crucifixion. This is why the blacksmith is esteemed and honoured among
      men, while the whitesmith is contemned and despised, and this is why the
      race of the whitesmith is spread and scattered here and there throughout
      the great world.

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  2. Romani - Where Water Meets the World says:
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    […] Many legends are associated with Romani/Gypsy people. I find this one related to the Crucifixion fascinating. […]

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