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Hospitality is the relationship between the guest and the host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. This includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, meaning "host", "guest", or "stranger". Hospes is formed from hostis, which means "stranger" or "enemy" (the latter being where terms like "hostile" derive).
In the West today hospitality is rarely a matter of protection and survival, and is more associated with etiquette and entertainment. However, it still involves showing respect for one's guests, providing for their needs, and treating them as equals. Cultures and subcultures vary in the extent to which one is expected to show hospitality to strangers, as opposed to personal friends or members of one's in-group.
Hospitality ethics is a discipline that studies this usage of hospitality.
The Pakhtun people of South-Central Asia, predominant in the all provinces of Afghanistan have a strong code of hospitality. They are the people characterized by their use of an ancient set of ethics, the first principle of which is milmastiya or "hospitality". The general area of Pakhtunistan is also nicknamed The Land of Hospitality.
To the ancient Greeks, hospitality was a divine right. The host was expected to make sure the needs of his guests were seen to. The ancient Greek term xenia, or theoxenia when a god was involved, expressed this ritualized guest-friendship relation. In Greek society a person's ability to abide the laws to hospitality determined nobility and social standing.
Celtic societies valued the concept of hospitality, especially in terms of protection. A host who granted a person's request for refuge was expected not only to provide food and shelter to his/her guest, but to make sure they did not come to harm while under their care.
In India hospitality is based on the principle Atithi Devo Bhava, meaning "the guest is God". This principle is shown in a number of stories where a guest is literally a god who rewards the provider of hospitality. From this stems the Indian approach of graciousness towards guests at home, and in all social situations.
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