A Roma celebration of the Virgin Mary

On September 8, 2014, the Romanian Roma community gathered to honor the birth of the Virgin Mary, in Costesti, Romania.

After a religious service at the Bistrita Monastery, thousands of Roma gather on a nearby hillside and celebrate the holiday by sharing food and playing traditional music until dawn.

AP photographer Vadim Ghirda documents this old tradition in the photos below. 


Romania Religion Gypsy Virgin MA Romanian Roma man teaches his son to pray during a religious service celebrating the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the Bistrita Monastery in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)ary

Romania Religion Gypsy Virgin MA Romanian Roma man teaches his son to pray during a religious service celebrating the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the Bistrita Monastery in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)ary

Romanian Roma people pass by icons during a religious service celebrating the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the Bistrita Monastery in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) 

Romanian Roma people pass by icons during a religious service celebrating the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the Bistrita Monastery in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) 

Romanian Roma girls run as the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. Thousands of Gypsies or Roma gather on a hillside after attending a religious service in a nearby monastery and celebrate the religious holiday by sharing food and playing traditional music until the next dawn. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Romanian Roma girls run as the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. Thousands of Gypsies or Roma gather on a hillside after attending a religious service in a nearby monastery and celebrate the religious holiday by sharing food and playing traditional music until the next dawn. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Romania Religion Gypsy Virgin MaryA Romanian Roma woman passes under a table, part of a local tradition, during a religious service celebrating the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the Bistrita Monastery in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) 

Romania Religion Gypsy Virgin MaryA Romanian Roma woman passes under a table, part of a local tradition, during a religious service celebrating the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the Bistrita Monastery in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) 

A Romanian Roma man makes the sign of the cross after a religious service celebrating the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the Bistrita Monastery in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A Romanian Roma man makes the sign of the cross after a religious service celebrating the Birth of the Virgin Mary at the Bistrita Monastery in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

The sun rays are filtered through smoke as a Romanian Roma sits on the grass while the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) 

The sun rays are filtered through smoke as a Romanian Roma sits on the grass while the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) 

A Roma woman cuts food as the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A Roma woman cuts food as the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A Roma boy watches as women look at skirts while the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A Roma boy watches as women look at skirts while the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A Roma child dances as the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A Roma child dances as the Roma community celebrates the Birth of the Virgin Mary in Costesti, Romania, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)


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