Re-Discovering Greek Hospitality – A Personal Story
Celebrating life’s experiences in Greece can be truly unique. Be it a wedding, a baptism or a spontaneous soiree, Greece can provide the perfect backdrop. It is the motherland of sun, sea, and fun; it is blessed with beautiful islands and sandy beaches as well as impressive mountains, thick forests, and world-famous historical heritage. Yet, the most valuable part of your celebration experience in Greece is that you’re able to get acquainted with one of the most hospitable and welcoming countries (and its people) in the world!
Greek hospitality is quite well known as it dates back to ancient times and the concept of “Xenia”, which is a cultural mannerism of showing generosity and courtesy to strangers. Greeks have a deep understanding of hospitality; the locals are warm, friendly and always eager to help. They have stories to tell and are generous with sharing their local wisdom, whether related to food, places of interest, historical events, and even life’s deeper teachings. Packed, touristy places don’t always allow visitors to experience this cultural tradition, but true hospitality still exists in Greece and I was fortunate to re-discover this part of my culture while visiting Kimolos this summer.
My Inspiring Trip To Kimolos
I recently visited the island of Kimolos where my dad’s family is from and I was fortunate to experience the real meaning of Greek hospitality. With a friend we booked a place on Airbnb for a 3-day stay and arrived on Kimolos on a scorching hot summer day. When we found our rental, we were welcomed by our host, an elderly man about 75 years of age, who would ultimately change my mood and my whole perspective on Greek hospitality.
He showed us into our quaint apartment, relatively new and neatly organized. We could see the effort put into making this space a cozy corner for guests to relax. The man was extremely helpful, explaining every little detail to us even though it was completely unnecessary. His eagerness to make us feel at home was the finest example of typical Greek hospitality! Then, he took a tray that he had previously put on our balcony table, only to uncover fresh from the oven, homemade Ladenia – a traditional pie of Kimolos made of tomato, onion, and extra virgin olive oil – that his wife had lovingly prepared just for us! Not to mention, the home-made cookies in all sorts of flavors nicely wrapped sitting on the dinner table. This simple gesture conveyed a sense of authenticity and made our hearts melt.
Our host’s helpfulness was beyond words. He visited us many times just to make sure we had everything we needed. When we thanked him for his kindness and of course the delicious local delicacies, he promised that his wife would make us other treats before we leave. It all seemed surreal – so simple and real. I suppose we were not accustomed to this type of unconditional care. So many feelings and memories emerged; this whole experience reminded me of my childhood in the Greek islands when everything seemed to be simpler. This is real Greek hospitality. This is the true Greek experience; nurturing traditions, sharing experiences, giving and taking, and helping others. A warm welcome, a sense of connection, a feeling of friendship from a complete stranger and the sense of feeling home away from home. This is the true meaning of “philoxenia” – the Greek word for hospitality.
I realized that my father’s family home of Kimolos is a truly unspoiled place to experience in Greece; Greek hospitality has definitely not been lost or forgotten on this island. At MILI LO we cherish discovering such places, and love being able to share this kind of authenticity and hospitality with our clients. Kimolos is a perfect place to host a wedding elopement in Greece, free of pretense. A sacred place for those who love truly,
as love is quiet – there are no lights, no flashes and no show.
There is so much more to Greece than its gorgeous sunsets, crystal waters and whitewashed buildings. In Greece, love is abundant and as powerful as its sunlight. Can you think of a better place to host your special event?