Olah Romanies gather for “royal” funeral

Hundreds of Olah Romanies have gathered in the north-eastern city of Ostrava to pay final respects to their “king”, Jan Lípa, who died on Monday aged 72. Guests arrived from around Central Europe and even the USA for the funeral, which was accompanied by music and discussions of his life, decrees and settled disputes. The king was buried with some of his favourite items, such as his hat and pack of cards, and bottles of wine and even money. The community will mourn for one year before electing a new king, expected to be one of Jan Lípa’s sons. The Olah community, which accounts for around 15 percent of Romanies living in the Czech Republic, is a relatively closed group which has preserved its traditions much more than other Romany groups.