Philoxenia …What’s mine is yours…

There are some wonderful words in the Greek language which unfortunately, have no accurate translation or English equivalent.

Philoxenia is one of them.


 Philoxenia (Φιλοξενία) is derived from the word philos (φίλος) meaning friend, and xenos (ξένος) meaning stranger or foreigner. But the real meaning is definitely lost in translation, as it encompasses something much greater and which is inherent in the psyche of every Greek… their unquestionable generosity of spirit to share, regardless of the circumstances.


Wherever you meet a Greek in the world, and especially in the remotest, poorest villages of Greece, you will be welcomed with open arms; given a place at their table and fed with the very best they have to offer.

… What’s mine is yours… my home… my stories… my table… my food…


If only we were all born with this wonderful generosity of spirit, the world would undoubtedly be a happier, better place.

I wish you the spirit of philoxenia wherever you travel…

…for it’s extraordinarily powerful and one of life’s humbling lessons.

“…O for my late Grandfather in Crete who took his lantern each evening and made the rounds of the village to see if any stranger had come.

He would take him home, feed him, give him a bed for the night, and then in the morning send him off with a cup of wine and a slice of bread.”

Nikos Katzanzakis  Report to Greco






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  • Jackie Smith July 16, 2016   Reply →

    What a lovely post – and so accurate about the hospitality generally shown strangers by village residents. We’ve encountered a few who eyed us a bit but only on rare occasion in our travels. I’ve always heard the word translated as hospitality so nice to see the actual translation.

  • Jean Wethmar July 16, 2016   Reply →

    Just beautiful.. just had to share on my f/b post.. you write with your whole being.. heart and soul.. and eyes! Thanks Frannie x

  • Mum July 16, 2016   Reply →

    As we were saying – we love Greeks especially Cretans. Katzanakis says it all. You re-ignite memories so well. λαμπρός!

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