The Romany people, who trace their origins to medieval India, are perhaps six million in number, and about one per cent of this total lives in Britain. Their language is related to Hindi and Gujarati; "shraddha" is a Romany term meaning "faith".

Romany itinerants have been depicted with varying degrees of affection in Carmen, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, the novels of George Borrow and Buffy the Vampire Slayer but in popular culture they are habitually vilified and stereotyped as con men, thieves and dabblers in black magic.