why do we say god bless you after someone sneezes
The confusion and mild hurt you feel when no one says Бbless youБ when you sneeze makes you realise that this response has become second nature. ItБs just polite, isnБt it? Or is it? Come to think of it, does anyone actually know why we bless a personБs 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 thatб БGod bless youБ 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 Б stick with us Б 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 Б with peopleб with people believing that a sneeze causes the soul to escape the body through the nose. Apparently, saying Бbless youБ would stop the devil from claiming a sneezing personБs 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 Бbless youБ was used to ensure the return of the heartbeat Б or to even congratulate someone on not dying during their sneeze. Some were actually grateful for the sneeze Б seeing it as a blessing from the person sneezing. Saying Бbless youБ was just a way to greet someone who had sneezed in your direction. Nowadays, however, though weб still insist on blessing every sneezing person under the sun, thereБs no real reason behind it. It simply feels mandatory. Well, we are British, after all.
MORE: MORE: MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) RaeAnn from Kenyon asks: Why do we say Bless You when someone sneezes? There has always been a theory that your heart skips a beat when you sneeze. But Dr. David Hildren of Hennepin County Medical Center says that probably doesn t happen. How about theories that sneezing lets your soul escape from your body or allows in evil spirits? Those superstitions have been around for years. But it turns out we say Bless You because that is what Pope Gregory the Great said it in 590, when Europe was in the throes of the Black Death. He ordered anyone who sneezed to be blessed because that was the first sign of the illness.
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