Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xenia



X is the only letter not covered in the Dictionary of Newfoundland English so I am being creative.

Xenia (Greek: ξενία, xenía) is the Greek word for "foreign" or "strange"/"stranger", or of foreign origin. The concept of hospitality, or generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home is "philoxenia". The word "philos" meaning "friend" and the word "xenia" meaning "stranger", thus "friend of the stranger". It is often translated as "guest-friendship" (or "ritualized friendship") because the rituals of hospitality created and expressed a reciprocal relationship between guest and host.
The Greek god Zeus sometimes referred to as Zeus Xenios, meaning he was god of, among other things, travelers. This created a particular religious obligation to be hospitable to travelers, but guests also had responsibilities, beyond reciprocating hospitality.

Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders abound in hospitality so Xenia and its prefix is appropriate.

Example (1): In the very first summer my family and I were in Newfoundland, we were all outside one night admiring the bowl of stars overhead when shouts from across the street invited us to a houseparty. When the hosts learned it was my birthday their joy knew no bounds.

Example (2): On the first week of moving here, at the shop, seeing my disappointment at discovering there were no paper coffee filters, the owner insisted on going to her house and bringing me back some of hers.

Example (3): At a restaurant, reading my book as I love to do, one of the diners at a large convivial table came over and invited me to join the happy group. We've all been friends – well more like family - since.

I could go on. And on.

I recommend you go to THIS SITE and play one of the short clips.

Today's post brought to you by the letter X NOT from The Dictionary of Newfoundland English in partnership with the rest of the alphabet beginning here.





19 comments:

  1. You and I have similar posts today... well written!

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  2. I love the photograph by the way!

    You have some enviable co-travellers along life's pathway, WWW.

    When I first saw today's word I thouight we were going to be reading about the Warrior Princess - but no, I was muddling xenia with Xena.
    :-)

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  3. I think I need to move to Newfoundland!

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  4. What wonderful examples WWW. I find it interesting that many cultures show hospitality to strangers.

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  5. E:
    Thankee kindly! I just visited you, loved the post.
    XO
    WWW

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  6. T:
    Thanks about the photo, if I told you the fellah at the boat was quity cranky would you believe me?
    :)
    XO
    WWW

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  7. You could move in with me and cook all those delicious meals you keep writing about!
    XO
    WWW

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  8. GFB:
    never more so than here in my experience.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. And it's best not to have a phobia for them.

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  10. Hello there from another one on the other side of 60 - turned 63 on Tuesday.
    Karen

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  11. Philoxenia is a good word for something that seems to have no other word to describe it. When people are unexpectedly generous like that, it's always a wonderful surprise and all too rare.

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  12. Karen:
    Oh you're a mere child! Happy Birthday!
    XO
    WWW

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  13. Nick:
    Yes, it's hard to nail a word for such "stranger generosity".

    and all too rare like you say!

    XO
    WWW

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  14. I stayed at a bed and breakfast on Bell Island. The owner asked me if I found the bed comfortable and I said I found the mattress a bit too soft. 10 minutes later she knocked on my door with a new mattress under her arm. That is Newfoundland to me! Such a special place.
    take care Wise.
    Betty

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  15. Betty:
    It never ceases to amaze me. A branch came down off my front tree and within five minutes there were neighbour men with two chainsaws, clearing it all away. Not even coming to the house. Just doing the work.
    I hope it never changes.
    I love your mattress story!
    XO
    WWW

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  16. After 45 years, I find the meaning of the name of a lady friend who emigrated to Australia. It was great while it lasted, but I could never find another with that name ever!

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