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.
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: