Bori

bori f. (Ind.): daughter-in-law, sister-in-law.

A woman whom a čhavo brings home becomes the property of the whole fameľija. Therefore, her relationship with all the members of the extended family is indicated by a single term: bori. In traditional Roma communities, the newlyweds came to live with the groom's family – the bori went to live with her mother-in-law.

The terňi bori (the young daughter-in-law) had the lowest social position among her husband's relatives. She had to obey without protest her sasvi (mother-in-law) and her husband's sisters, who entrusted her with the hardest and most unpleasant jobs. She cleaned, did the wash, watched over the youngest children of her mother-in-law, went to the well for water. Sometimes she helped with the cooking, but in view of the extreme importance of the ritual cleanliness of food and its preparation in ancient Roma tradition, the status of a terňi bori was not suitable for the required žužipen (ritual cleanliness), and the male members of the family preferred food prepared by the mother-homemaker.

If a young daughter-in-law disobeyed or was čhibaľi (fresh, sassy, cheeky), the mother-in-law would get her son to beat his wife, and the son was often unable to stand up against his mother. If a terňi bori could no longer bear the educational tyranny of her mother-in-law, "denašťa ke daj" ("she would run home to her mother"). Her husband would come to get her in a few days, and then her mother-in-law usually acknowledged that she had to be kinder to her daughter-in-law.

This hard apprenticeship was enormously important for a young woman. The mother-in-law – the "forewoman" – led her to becoming a modest wife, a good and responsible mother, an orderly and clean (žuži) homemaker. A great majority of Roma women remember their mothers-in-law with love ("Sas mange aver daj" – "She was my second mother.") - and, interestingly, in the repertoire of traditional Roma jokes, there are no mother-in-law jokes.

The position of the terňi bori changed when her mother-in-law "anďa pre peskero vast" (literally, "transferred her to her hand") or taught her all of the customs of her community perfectly. Usually that was after the bori had become the mother of two or three children of her own or when the next son married and brought his bride into the family. The new bride occupied the position of terňi bori and assumed all the obligations connected with it.

Image Printable version
Image Jekh detharin rano bori poranila – One morning the daughter-in-law gets up early
Image Amari cikni bori – Our little daughter-in-law