Published on January 23, 2009
Definitions of Hospitality in Religions & Regions
Hospitality and it's roots? In Latin, the word host is, means stranger, enemy. From that, we get hospitem, Latin for guest or host. From these roots, English gets hospital, host, hostel, hotel, hospitality. Hospitals were originally hospices for the reception of pilgrims (those traveling to shrines or the Holy Land). (The term later applied to charitable institutions for the aged and infirm, and later still, to charitable institutions for the education of children, before it gained its current meaning) Hospitallers were those whose duty it was to provide hospitum (lodging and entertainment) for pilgrims (entertainment -- from the old French entretenir, 'to hold among' -- originally meant attention to the comfort and desires of guests; hospitality). 'Hospitality' was what you expected to get in a 'hospital.' This word history makes it pretty easy to see where we get our current definition of hospitality -- 'friendly reception; generous treatment of guests or strangers.'
Hospitality in Hinduism Offering hospitality is fundamental to Hindu culture and providing food and shelter to a needy stranger was and is a traditional duty of the householder. The unexpected guest is called the atithi, literally meaning quot;without a set time.” quot; Scriptures enjoin that the atithi be treated as God.” It was especially important to extend hospitality towards brahmanas, sannyasis and other holy people. Tradition teaches that, no matter how poor one is, one should always offer three items: sweet words, a sitting place, and refreshments (at least a glass of water). The flower garland is offered to special guests and dignitaries, as a symbol of loving exchange. Scriptures also enjoins that one should treat visiting enemies so well that they will forget their animosity. A graphic example is that of the warrior class who would fight during the day and in the evening socialize with adversaries. Westerners visiting India (and other places in the East) are often astonished by the welcoming attitude towards guests and visiting strangers.
Krishna sets the example of how to receive a respectable guest. Here, in a story from the Bhagavata-Purana, he washes the feet of an impoverished brahmana.
Hospitality in Islam Significance of hospitality in Islam is great. The essence of hospitality is that when guests arrive there should be no sense of frustration, rather whatever best one can arrange should be offered to the guests, without lavishness. The true Islamic civility as regards hospitality is to serve the guests with cheerfulness. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that hospitality was a symptom of faith. This notion was not limited to one's near and dear ones, rather each guest, regardless of religion, was served well and taken care of. Sometimes misunderstanding may lead the guests to be unfair. However the host should maintain fortitude. The fundamentals for a host toward a guest are patience, fortitude and courtesy .
Islamic hospitality has played a significant role in bringing people together and contributed to preserving traditions and social ties,
Hospitality in Christianity Hospitality is making people feel like they're not strangers, like they 'belong.' In the New Testament, hospitality was expected, at least as the disciples travelled about Judea and Galilee. When Jesus sent out the disciples (Matthew 10:10 - 13), he told them not to take gold or silver, but to find a worthy person and stay in their house while they are in town. The Greek word that is translated 'hospitality' in the New Testament is Filoxenia (philoxenia), literally, a love of strangers.
Hospitality in Judaism In Judaism, showing hospitality (hakhnasat orchim) to guests is considered a mitzvah. When one knows of strangers who are hungry or need a place to relax, it becomes a legal obligation. Some rabbis consider hakhnasat orchim (literally the “bringing in of strangers”) to be a part of gemilut hasadim (giving of loving kindness). The first time hospitality is displayed in the Torah happens when Abraham invites the three wanderers from Mamre to relax while he brings them water and food (Gen. 18:1-5). Later, when Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac, Rebecca graciously watered the traveler’s thirsty horses
Regardless of Religion or Nationality, Caste or Creed , “Hospitality is the customers birth right and they shall have it” Nayeem Khan
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