why do we say bless you after someone sneezes
The confusion and mild hurt you feel when no one says вbless youв when you sneeze makes you realise that this response has become second nature. Itвs just polite, isnвt it? Or is it? Come to think of it, does anyone actually know why we bless a personвs sneeze? Did you know? Disney once planned a prequel to Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
In all honesty: No. Nobody has been able to determine exactly why we bless a sneeze, or where the blessing first originated from. But, there are lots of theories. One common belief is thatВ вGod bless youв was a phrase uttered by Pope Gregory the Great during a bubonic plague epidemic that took place in the sixth century. As sneezing was one of the symptoms of the plague, it was a way to wish good health on someone. Another theory is that it в stick with us в blessing someone would protect them from sneezing their soul out through their nose. Really. In the days before a sneeze was known to be a reflex action, a symptom of a cold or an allergic reaction, the phrase was used simply because of superstition в with peopleВ with people believing that a sneeze causes the soul to escape the body through the nose.
Apparently, saying вbless youв would stop the devil from claiming a sneezing personвs soul. Some believed the opposite though, believing that evil spirits use a sneeze as a way to enter the body. For others, the soul had nothing to do with a sneeze. Another old belief was that the heart momentarily stopped during a sneeze, and вbless youв was used to ensure the return of the heartbeat в or to even congratulate someone on not dying during their sneeze. Some were actually grateful for the sneeze в seeing it as a blessing from the person sneezing. Saying вbless youв was just a way to greet someone who had sneezed in your direction. Nowadays, however, though weВ still insist on blessing every sneezing person under the sun, thereвs no real reason behind it. It simply feels mandatory. Well, we are British, after all.
MORE: MORE: ^ Jucker, Andreas H. ; Taavitsainen, Irma (10 April 2008). Speech Acts in the History of English. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. P171. P. God bless you has been attested as a leave-taking term since 1740 and can be today heard in the US as an explicit wish or blessing and as an implicit leave-taking term. Some also use the reduced variant of God bless. Alhujelan, Naser S. (2008). Worldviews of the Peoples of the Arabian Peninsula: A Study of Cultural System. ProQuest. p. P369. P. The expression "May God bless you" includes blessing, meaning growth, happiness, and many other good things. It is often said by family and loved ones as a kind of prayer. Lewis, Roger (1997). The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Applause. p. P415. P. The letter ends with the solemn valediction 'God bless you. ' Everett, Isaac (1 May 2009). The Emergent Psalter. Church Publishing, Inc. p. P132. P. The beginning of this psalm echoes the priestly benediction from Numbers 6: May God bless you and keep you.
Wachspress, Amy (8 June 2012). Memories from Cherry Harvest. Counterpoint LLC. p. P91. P. reciting the ancient Jewish benediction a parent gives to a child: "May God bless you and keep you and may God's countenance shine upon you and bring you peace. " Driscoll, Rev. Michael S. ; Hilgartner, Rev. Msgr. Richard B. ; Kelly, Maureen A. ; John Thomas Lane; James Presta; Corinna Laughlin; Jim Schellman; D. Todd Williamson; Paul Turner; Catherine Combier-Donovan; Diana Macalintal; Sr. Genevieve (2012). Liturgy Training Publications. p. P439. P. Thus, in the Book of Blessings, as in the Divine Office, while clergy may close with a true blessing ("May almighty God bless you. "), laypersons can only request God's blessing ("May the Lord bless us. ") Patrick, Bethanne Kelly; Thompson, John Milliken (2009). An Uncommon History of Common Things. National Geographic. p. P74. P. In Rome during the plague of 590, Pope Gregory I ordered unceasing prayer for divine intercession.
Part of his command was that anyone sneezing be blessed immediately ("God bless you"), since sneezing was often the first sign that someone was falling ill with the plague. Although the populace did not understand that the sneeze was the source of transmittal, they may have sensed it was connected to the disease. "God bless you" became a verbal totem invoking divine mercy on the sneezer. Whiting, Bartl Jere (1977). Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. Harvard University Press. p. P178. P. The year 750, is commonly reckoned the era of the custom of saying "God bless you," to one who happens to sneeze, etc. ^ - Bless You! ^ Ed Zotti, Editor. , 27 September 2001. ^, posting by Tom Wilson, M. D. /PhD, Pathology, Div. of Molecular Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine (2014). God Bless You! " A Blessing in Disguise? ". Skeptic Magazine. 19. Retrieved. , story by T. Crofton Croker, 1898. , posting by Robert West, Post-doc/Fellow, 1997-08-05
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why do we say bless you when somebody sneezes
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