Friday, 4 March 2011

Greek hospitality - fit for a King!

It is well known that when you visit a Greek, you are going to be treated like royalty. They know how to make people feel special. Greeks have a reputation to upkeep of being the most hospitable people in the world, after all!

When they have 'xeni' over, they will greet you with kisses and hugs, even if you haven't been invited and have turned up unexpectedly, or even if they have seen you earlier that day! Then one of the first things they will say will be "are you hungry?" They don't listen for the answer, as it is irrelevant. You are going to get food. If you even think about refusing, the host will be slightly offended but will manage to convince you to eat anyway. Greeks always get their way.

It is likely that you will be guided to the usually forbidden 'saloni', reserved only for guests, and the special china will be carefully taken out of the glass cabinet for you as well. You will probably be served tea with 'kanella' (cinnamon) of course as that's how the Greeks roll, as well as some nice fattening pastry home-cooked cakes. Before you have taken the last sip of your tea or the last crumb falls on your plate, you will have been offered a top up, or tea may have already miraculously appeared in your mug and more cake on your plate before you can even say "opa".
You will probably be forced to stay for hours until dinner time as well, and all night long!

Now not to insult the 'xeni', but as a Greek I can't help but compare the hospitality level when I visit a non-Greek's house. Firstly, there is the different greeting at the door... no huge hugs and kisses like you have been trekking across the Andes for 6 months and they are excited to see you again, no none of that. Just a polite "come in". Fair enough... you may stand awkwardly while the host brushes some rubbish off the couch so you can sit down and then you are pretty much left to it. No offer of a food or drink, and you kinda feel rude asking, as normally it appears before you even sit down in a Greek's home! I remember visiting a friend who decided to make themselves a drink and some food while I sat there watching them eat! No offering of anything for me!? Just so you know, in a Greek's house that is a major sin! You always offer your guests first and then only once everyone has had theirs and their second serving, do you even THINK about getting something for yourself.

Now, I'm not saying that all non-Greeks are like this, as I'm sure some are a little more hospitable than this, but this has been my experience at times! Although now, I have trained my non-Greek friends to at least have the kettle on once I walk through the door, so we're getting there!

Maybe I'm just biased or maybe it's the truth, but next time you're visiting homes do some comparisons and decide for yourselves if Greeks really are the most hospitable people on earth!


  1. I agree, I've only been lucky enough to go to one big 'Greek gathering' an invite to our neighbours for dinner. It was a great night - I lost count of how many people were there but they were so friendly (especially as only a few of them spoke English and our Greek was very poor!)
    I'm working on my hospitality, although I'll never reach the skills of a proper Greek housewife :)

    1. That's so great to hear, I'm sure you are hospitable! Greeks just tend to go a bit overboard!!

  2. Wow that's very interesting and unique.

    1. Thank you for commenting and I hope you get invited to a Greek's home soon!

  3. I totally agree ,I am greek and I 've never been in a house without eat or at least drink something!
    It's something you have to do if you don't wanna offend the greeks.
    Now about the kissing-hugging thing ,
    DO NOT REFUSE a hug of a greek even if you don't know him, this is our way to make you fell comfortable and welcome.


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