Ah Choo!

Why do you say bless you when someone sneezes?


When people sneeze, the first thing many people do is say ‘bless you’. But why do people say this?

According to http://people.howstuffworks.com/sneezing.htm, the term ‘bless you’ comes from the Romans who said ‘Jupiter preserve you’ or ‘Salve’, which translates to ‘good health to you’. Greeks wished each other a long life after someone sneezed. Pope Gregory the Great said the actual term ‘God bless you’ during the sixth century when there was an epidemic plague going around and one of the symptoms of the plague was sneezing. Sometimes after a sneeze you hear ‘Gesundheit’ which is German and it means health. In many Latin American countries, they say “Salud,” which also means health.

Blessing someone after they sneeze has been known to originate from superstition. Some believe that sneezing lets your soul escape, while others believe that sneezing allows evil spirits into your body. It has been thought that when a person sneezes, their heart stops and saying bless you brings them back to life and welcomes them back.But fear not, the heart does not stop beating while you sneeze.

There are many different ways of saying bless you worldwide. Other forms of saying bless you are “Alhamdulillah” which is said in Arabic countries,  “Live!” which is Hindu, “bud zdorov” in Russia, and in China “bai sui”. What do you say when you hear someone sneeze?