Why do we say \”bless you\” when someone sneezes? THIS goes back to more superstitious times when a sneeze was believed to separate the soul from the body. To prevent the devil stealing the soul the incantation \”bless you\” (i. e. God bless you) was uttered to release the soul from Satan\’s clutches and return it to its rightful owner. IT COMES from the time of the Great Plague. As sneezing was one of the first symptoms, and it was obvious that person would die, \”bless you\” (or \”God bless you\”) was a suitable thing to say. IT WAS believed that sneezing was the way for the body to rid itself of the devil\’s evil influences. The act of blessing a person subsequent to a sneeze was meant to act as a safeguard against the devil\’s evil influences returning. However, if the sneezer should thank the blesser for the blessing it was thought to invite the devil with all his evil influences to re-enter the body.
^ 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