National Aromanian Day celebrated

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Aromanian community worldwide celebrated its national day yesterday, May 23. The day commemorates 100 years since the Aromanian people were recognised by Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

Aromanians are a distinct ethnic group currently living mainly in Southeastern Europe, especially Greece and Macedonia. The Aromanians are closely related to the Romanian people, both being descendants from the Latin peoples which lived in Southeastern Europe since the time of the Roman Empire. The Aromanian language, which is spoken by around 500,000 people internationally, is the closest language to Romanian.

Despite their relative size, Aromanians have very little, if no, minority rights. In Greece, for example, they are not recognised as a minority. In Romania, where there are an increasing number of Aromanians, many of them migrating from Greece, Macedonia and Albania, they are often considered as Romanians, because their language is partly mutually-intelligible with Romanian and their culture is relatively similar. However, there is currently a movement in Romania to give the Aromanians a status as a separate ethnic group, therefore entitling them to parliamentary representation and education in the Aromanian language, among other rights.