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Sharing The Greek-American Experience

Xenia Greek Tradition

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Xenia (Ξενία) is the ancient tradition of courtesy shown to travelers and Greeks today are well known for welcoming everyone!

If you've traveled to Greece you've no doubt experienced the generosity of the people, especially from those living away from a major metropolis. This tradition stems back to ancient Greek mythology, when it was believed that the Gods walked amongst the people disguised as strangers. Not wanting to take the chance of offending a God, the people offered food and drink to any stranger that entered their village.

Refugee child arriving on Island of Lesvos

Have you ever experienced someone ironing your jeans? I have. Have you every walked off a ferry onto an island carrying a list of names of your mother's relatives? It took me five minutes to find one of them. Then there's the aunt who gave me two toys dogs that I admired as they sat on her mantle. Venture out of the big city of Athens, where the hotels are staffed by Germans, and seek out the true Greek experience!

This Xenia tradition is so strong that the Greeks living on Lesvos have been opening their homes and their hearts to the thousands of refugees streaming onto their island. They share their food, help care for the sick, and risk their lives to pull people out of the water. Because of this, there is a global, grass roots campaign to nominate them for a Nobel Peace Prize, with well over 650,000 people signing the petition.

2/4/16: Voting happens in a few days, so the petition is here for now...

Greeks know how to party, how to enjoy life, and how to entertain their guests. Make a point to travel to the islands and park yourself at a cafe for a few days. You'll be glad you did!

Read more about Xenia at wikipedia...