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Fortællinger fra Kreta | 41

Tales from Crete | 41

All of us who love Greece, be it the mainland or one of the many wonderful islands, and return again and again and again and again eat in the same places, live in the same place or area, know it only too well. We are just wildly excited about Greek, but can find it difficult to put into words what it is that we really like. We mention the weather, the food, the water, the hospitality, the beautiful sandy beaches, the culture, the Greek mentality and everything else if we are asked. But the word we are looking for, if we have to briefly express what it is about the Greeks and Greece that we are so excited about, is not found in Danish or any other languages ​​either, apart from the fact that it is of course found in Greek.

It is the word "Philotimo", which the Greeks themselves say is their secret word. It is now no secret, because every Greek knows the word and its meaning, but there are no direct translations of the meaning into any other language. The word has no real definition, but affects the surroundings and the world around far beyond what one can immediately imagine. Philotimo comes from the Greek root word "filos" meaning friend and "timi" meaning honour, but extends far beyond the meaning of friend and honour. The word appears less flatteringly in some of the very early writings, but developed rapidly. At the beginning of the Christian era, the word was solidly positive, and its use in the Bible probably laid its use in modern Greek culture. Countless superlatives can be added to the meaning of the word, but no matter how many we find, it will never be sufficient. It is also not a word you either use or mention in some context, but something that is deeply rooted in every Greek. And even if you ask a Greek what the word actually means, there are as many interpretations as there are people. This is what helps make "Philotimo" the secret word. No one can immediately say what it means, but everyone knows it.

Philotimo includes the concepts of pride in oneself, pride in the family, pride in society and doing the right thing. Philotimo is an all-encompassing concept that gives meaning to life. An opinion that extends far beyond oneself. One of the oldest well-founded definitions of Philotimo is "the deep consciousness in the heart that motivates the good that a person does".

But don't be fooled, because Philotimo is a concept that lies deeper in the heart and mind of a Greek than anything else, and can be easily misunderstood if you are not familiar with it. It is an unselfish attitude where there is no expectation of retribution in any way. It is at the same time a declaration of confidence and a pronounced expression of friendship, consideration, consideration and general humanity, supported by a concept of honor and a pride which, by and large, only the Greeks possess. Put very simply – if a Greek offers his help, it is NOT to get anything in return. It is simply because he wants to help. Or to put it another way - if a Greek says about some task: "I'll probably fix or manage that", then you can be very sure that he will do it too. Maybe not today, tomorrow or next week, but he will probably do it sooner or later. In fact, the word Philotimo also states that the spoken word has as much or often more weight than the written one, and if you cast doubt on that, you hurt his Philotimo's honor and then he will hardly ever offer his help again.

It is not always easy to be Greek, but certainly not always easy to understand them either, although they always want the best for one.

Have a really nice weekend out there

Tales from Crete | Elena's - The taste of Greece

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