why do they say god bless you

Many people have become accustomed to saying bless you or gesundheit when someone sneezes. No one says anything when someone coughs, blows their nose or burps, so why do sneezes get special treatment? What do those phrases actually mean, anyway? Wishing someone well after they sneeze probably originated thousands of years ago. The Romans would say Jupiter preserve you or Salve, which meant good health to you, and the Greeks would wish each other long life. The phrase God bless you is attributed to
Pope Gregory the Great, who uttered it in the sixth century during a bubonic epidemic (sneezing is an obvious symptom of one form of the plague). The exchangeable term gesundheit comes from Germany, and it literally means health. The idea is that a sneeze typically precedes illness.


It entered the English language in the early part of the 20th century, brought to the United States by German-speaking immigrants. Virtually every country around the globe has its own way of wishing sneezers well. People in Arabic countries say, Alhamdulillah, which means, praise be to God. Hindus say, Live! or Live well! Some countries have special sneezing responses for children. In Russia, after children are given the traditional response, bud zdorov ( be healthy ), they are also told rosti bolshoi ( grow big ). When a child sneezes in China, he or she will hear bai sui, which means, may you live 100 years. В For the most part, the various sneeze responses originated from ancient superstitions. Some people believed that a sneeze causes the soul to escape the body through the nose.


Saying bless you would stop the devil from claiming the person's freed soul. Others believed the opposite: that evil spirits use the sneeze as an opportunity to enter a person's body. There was also the misconception that the momentarily stops during a sneeze (it doesn't), and that saying bless you was a way of welcoming the person back to life. We now know that sneezing is a reflex action and is most often the sign of something relatively benign, such as a or. A sneeze also can be provoked by being outside in the or from a strong odor. Still, we persist in the custom of saying bless you or gesundheit, mainly out of habit and common courtesy. For more information on sneezing and related topics, check out the next page.


Everybody has that moment when they realize they donБt know about something that they should probably know about. Whether itБs history, language, science, or cultural phenomena, youБve felt the stinging personal embarrassment of a moment wherein you realize thereБs some common knowledge that isnБt so common. DonБt feel bad; nobody knows everything. Nobody, that is, except me and my sidekick, The Internet! Somewhere in the world, a confused soul begs the questionБ Why Do We Say БGod Bless YouБ After Someone Sneezes? In terms of phrases most often said without thought given to their true meanings, the post-sneeze БGod bless youБ definitely ranks near the top of the list. I mean, seriously, consider it for a moment: someoneБs body has an involuntary reflexive response because of something like an allergy and we all instinctively ask an omnipotent creator to infuse this person with holiness.


Б what? The truth is that saying БGod bless youБ just doesnБt really make a whole lot of sense. But why do we say it? As with most ridiculous linguistic traditions, the supposed origins are many. Presumably before the age of science and reason, many people believed that a sneeze represented an opportunity for a personБs soul to escape from their body and a quick БGod bless youБ was meant to protect the potentially exposed soul from being stolen by the always-looming Satan. Yeesh. In a related idea, sneezes were also once regarded as the means by which the body expelled a demon and thus, the БGod bless youБ was a preventative measure to keep the invisible evil from re-entering the body.


A common, still-cited rationale for the prominence of the БGod bless youБ has to do with the persistent myth that a personБs heart stops during a sneeze and so, in order for the sneezer to continue living, all onlookers must rush to ask God for help. First of all: your heart doesnБt stop during a sneeze. Secondly: no. From what I can gather,. As the Black Death swept around the globe, a sneeze was believed to represent imminent death and the БGod bless youБ was a fond farewell to the infected person nearby. stop saying БGod bless youБ unless youБre meaning to imply the presence of demons or an unstoppable 14th century global pandemic. Now you know.