Today’s Classics Challenge delves into the importance of Xenia… and how resurfacing this concept can make for both better individuals and society as a whole.
But first… What is Xenia? Watch the video below to learn of this critical part of Ancient Greek (and indeed modern Greek) culture:
While this was an essential part of Ancient Greece, perhaps tragically it has become less pervasive today, a loss to our communities and cultures. Indeed, the reverse “Xenophobia” is something encountered more and more instead.
But how can understanding the concepts of Xenia help you?
First we must realize that being both a welcoming host and a respectful guest is an ancient and sacred ritual… and thus we should take those roles in our day to day life with the appropriate seriousness. Listen to each other. Consider the other’s position. Bring a gift. This will no doubt help with your next dinner party or family stay.
Second, we should see these positions as host and guest with regards to our society as a whole. How we communicate with other peoples and cultures and, equally important, represent our own. Welcoming foreigners can bring exciting collaborations, important lessons and ideas… likewise, we learn tremendously by being good guests when we travel and treat our hosts with respect and compassion.
As a permanent traveler, I have been the beneficiary of wonderful hosts throughout the world, whether it was in Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico or… perhaps not surprisingly, Greece. I have also, tragically, witnessed real xenophobia, and it is a situation where everyone loses out.
We as individuals, and as a community as a whole, can make the decision to choose Xenia… and keep this beautiful ancient Greek idea alive.