XENIA: “The Greek term for the Laws of Hospitality. The custom in classical Greece and other ancient cultures that, if a traveler comes to a strange town, he can ask for food, shelter, and gifts to help him on his journey. In Greek tradition, the host was considered responsible for his guest’s comfort and safety, and a breach of those laws of hospitality was thought to anger Zeus (Roman Jupiter), the king of the gods.”
(Source: Xenia, Literary Terms and Definitions, Dr. L.K. Wheeler, Carson-Newman University.)
“Xenia was considered to be particularly important in ancient times when people thought gods mingled among them. If one had poorly played host to a stranger, there was the risk of incurring the wrath of a god disguised as the stranger. It is thought that the Greek practice of theoxenia may have been the antecedent of the Roman rite of Lectisternium, or the draping of couches.“
Xenia consists of two basic rules:
- The respect from host to guest. The host must be hospitable and provide food, drink, bath, and gifts when the guest leaves. It is impolite to ask questions until the guest has finished the meal.
- The respect from guest to host. The guest must be courteous, not be a burden, and also provide a gift if he/she has one.
(Source: Xenia, Wikipedia.)
By contrast, xenophobia is the “dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries” (Oxford dictionary).