I always enjoy gaining insights into other cultures, especially through their own languages. I came across one recently that really made me think, and you may find it interesting, too.
On Facebook I “like” a Greek musician, Areti Ketime. And being one of her likers, her posts show up on my newsfeed. I enjoy reading them to practice my Greek, even though they usually consist of announcements for concerts that I can’t go to. But this time it was different: she posted something that alluded to the recent passing of an (apparently) famous Greek musician. What caught my eye, though, was not the post, but the comments that followed it. People said the things people usually say when someone like that dies—expressing how much they loved his music, etc. But almost every commenter also included the phrase “Καλό ταξίδι!”, or some form of it, addressed to this deceased musician. That’s the Greek way of saying “Have a good trip!”, or “Bon voyage !” if you please, and in this context it intrigued me.
Greece is known as one of the most religious countries in Europe, and while I don’t know what the Greek Orthodox beliefs on the afterlife are, it was apparent that these well-wishers had full confidence that this man was on his way to a new destination. I like this point of view, and perhaps we should remember more often that those who have passed on are not dead forever, but only gone to another place; and if they were faithful in this life, we may see them again if we follow the same path.