The ancestors of the Roma from the North West Indian has spread in Asia, Africa and Europe. In Europe they came through Persia, Asia Minor and Armenia and settled in Greece, Romania, and Hungary. From the 15th century, the ancestors of the Roma were already known in most of Western Europe regions. The Roma in Lithuania came about in the middle of the 15th century. They came from the South, crossed over the Dniester river, and from the West through Poland. It seems that they were already in the times of Vytautas.
Currently, the European countries are home to more than 10 million Roma. The largest community (with more than 2 million members) of the Roma lives in Romania. The States, where Roma people make up to 1 million of the population, are Spain, Bulgaria and Hungary. A smaller, but enough large groups of Roma are States of former Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Moldova and Turkey. According to The Department of Statistics under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, in 2011 general population and housing census data shows that in Lithuania, lived 2115 Roma people.
On the basis of research data, the Roma belong to 3 ethnic groups: the “litovska“ Roma (Roma in Lithuania), “lotfktka“ Roma (Roma in Latvia) and „kotliar“. “Litovska“ and “lotfktka“ are Roman Catholics, and the “kotliar“, who came to Lithuania from Moldova after the World War II, are Eastern Orthodox. The Roma have no common religion, and they do not profess religion in residential area. They are not connected to the liturgy, and practice it in their own way.
Roma communities live in different parts of Lithuania, but the largest Roma communities are in Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai, Panevėžys and Šalčininkai. Kirtimai is the largest in Vilnius in settlement of the Roma. By its certain region and language there are the following subsets of the Roma in Lithuania: North Russian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Belarusian, Polish, and other smaller branches. Caldarari, Kalderash or Kotliar, are extremely traditional group in Lithuania, about 200 of its members live separately from other settlements, while keeping to the strict cultural traditions.
The Roma language belongs to the Indo-Aryan language group. So far, it still has kept the character and lexical properties of ancient Indo-Aryan languages. A considerable amount of influence on the language of the Roma had and those nations with which the Roma language has interacted with. In Europe, the Roma language is divided into 9 dialects. Romani language used in Lithuania and Poland is named as the Baltic dialect.
The language of the Roma in Lithuania has been only spoken. In 2004, the 1st book of Lithuanian Roma language alphabet was released by T. Bagdonavičienė. The Roma language grammar is written in accordance to Lithuanian grammar. This is the 1st attempt to organize the Roma language, its rules, to show the richness and sound. There have not been any literature in Lithuania written in the Roma language. This book, written by T. Bagdonavičienė, is the 1st.
Although the Roma do not have a written law, their lives are organized according to certain unwritten rules. They call them as their own laws – romanypen.
The latter are transmitted from generation to generation and adapted to the new environment. In the year of 1971, in London was hosted the 1st World Romani Congress. For the 1st time there were published the flag and the anthem of the Roma people as well as officially established the World Union of Roma.
Members of the United Nations referred to the recognition of the Roma people and to keep them as a separate ethnic minority. There were also asked to call them Roma rather than Gypsies.