Why do we say bless you when people sneeze?

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  1. cruelkindness profile image62
    cruelkindnessposted 11 years ago

    Why do we say bless you when people sneeze?


  2. nochance profile image88
    nochanceposted 11 years ago

    I had always heard it has something to do with your soul accidentally leaving your body when you sneezed. But here's the wikipedia article about it.


  3. profile image0
    blake4dposted 11 years ago

    Probably for many superstitious reasonings, but basically because it is polite to do so.

  4. collegedad profile image69
    collegedadposted 11 years ago

    So that the person's soul does not escape the person's body. At least that's what I was told.

  5. SarahLMaguire profile image93
    SarahLMaguireposted 11 years ago

    I heard that it was because sneezing was an early symptom of the plague, so if you sneezed you might be in need of blessing.
    There is evidence however that the custom goes back to ancient times. The strange and random nature of sneezing made it seem like some kind of divine intervention and it could be regarded as an omen. In general it seems to be an expression of concern for someone who has been suddenly afflicted.

  6. Barnsey profile image70
    Barnseyposted 11 years ago

    Doctors have found that upon sneezing a being's heart stops! People with heart conditions may have dropped dead in the past due to a lack of medical care. I mean, leeches were innovative and all but they weren't really medical care.

    1. dagny roth profile image70
      dagny rothposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Yep! That's what I heard.  Sneezing and orgasms....you take a risk every time!  Bless you all!

  7. Amy Becherer profile image67
    Amy Bechererposted 11 years ago

    The definitive origins for saying "bless you" when someone sneezes are unknown.  Historians surmise that as far back as 590 AD, at the time of the plague, this statement became a kind of protective prayer, as the first symptom of the plague was often sneezing.

    Another "boogie woogie" idea was that the soul could be expelled with a sneeze.  Another idea along those lines was that an evil spirit was trying to exit the body through a sneeze.

    SInce no one is sure of why or how "Bless you" became closely associated with sneezing, it stands today as a polite nicety and sometimes, a habit. 

    I tend to believe it may well have begun long ago in response to fear associated with the plague and now stands as more superstition than prayer.

  8. LisaMarie724 profile image68
    LisaMarie724posted 11 years ago

    I read this somewhere before but can't remember everything but basically back in the 1800's people started saying this when people sneezed because it meant they were getting sick.  A lot of sickness' that just irritate us now ended up killing people back then because they didn't have the medicines we do now.  So saying Bless you started as blessing a sick person.

  9. leroy64 profile image66
    leroy64posted 11 years ago

    I am just being polite when I say "bless you" and it is better than saying "Ew... Clean that up."

  10. My Minds Eye53 profile image60
    My Minds Eye53posted 11 years ago

    Because people believed that your heart stops when you sneeze.  I am not sure if this is true., but that is how it got started.  People blessed you so you would survive the sneeze.

  11. prettynutjob30 profile image83
    prettynutjob30posted 11 years ago

    I think we do it out of habit,but it is also kind of rude not to say it.

    1. cascoly profile image60
      cascolyposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      it's the 21st century -- why would it be rude to refuse to participate uin a religious superstition?

  12. iamageniuster profile image66
    iamageniusterposted 11 years ago

    It used to be "God bless you" so you can heal faster and don't spread the germs to someone else. People don't want to be sick.

  13. markminer profile image60
    markminerposted 11 years ago

    Back in medieval days, when one sneezed it was thought that your soul was trying to escape from your body...so one would then say "God Bless you" in order to stop your soul from leaving.

  14. profile image0
    SteviJayposted 11 years ago

    I think we say it because your heart stops when you sneeze so people say, " Bless you" because you have been blessed to breathe again!

  15. lovelife08 profile image61
    lovelife08posted 11 years ago

    The way I understand it is, medically speaking, sneezing temporarily stops your heart. So, in a sense, we "die" during a sneeze. So we say "God bless you" or "Bless you" in an attempt to....bless....you, per say.

  16. Cardia profile image76
    Cardiaposted 11 years ago

    I read somewhere that back in the Middle Ages, when someone sneezed, it was thought that their spirit would escape through their mouth or nose, and the Devil would then steal it. So someone would quickly say "God bless you!" so that the person's spirit would be safe, and not stolen.

    It's so interesting looking up all the little mannerisms that we as a society have picked up over the years!

  17. Alastar Packer profile image73
    Alastar Packerposted 11 years ago

    Southern folklore has it so old slewfoot- the devil, won't grab your soul.

  18. the clean life profile image72
    the clean lifeposted 11 years ago

    I have heard over the years that when you sneeze they claim your heart stops for a second or two.. That is what I have heard. True or false, I really don't know.

  19. Emma Beth profile image67
    Emma Bethposted 11 years ago

    I was always told this originated from medieval plagues. Blessing someone, when there were symptoms of sickness (such as sneezing) was an attempt to help ward of disease.

  20. Grams Study profile image60
    Grams Studyposted 11 years ago

    I think that it must be an old custom. We sometimes say it to keep someone else from being embarrassed about the sneeze.  Also they say if you sneeze your heart stops. It could be involved with that

  21. Jyoti Patil profile image61
    Jyoti Patilposted 11 years ago

    When we sneeze, our heart stops for a millisecond. And God Bless is used just to bless a person whose heart we don't want to stop forever.

  22. samadaslam profile image61
    samadaslamposted 11 years ago

    Saying "God Bless you" when someone sneezes was started in by Muslims 600 years ago. They used to say, "yarhamukallah" which is Arabic Phrase means "God Bless You". This habit was liked by the rest of the world and they adopted it.
    Now why we say "yarhamukallah" or "God Bless You" so the sneeze is the very common sign of Cold. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who made it mandatory to the Muslims to say "yarhamukallah" when someone sneeze said: "When someone sneeze say "yarhamukallah" but if he sneeze fourth time then he has cold".  So we say "God Bless You" to wish him that may God keep him healthy.
    For Reference You may Read Wikipedia Article and http://islamqa.info/en/ref/170266

  23. profile image52
    finewordsposted 11 years ago

    there is a scientific explanation for it. when we sneeze all our body parts especially lungs has conjugated due to high pressure and low volume of air. So when we say bless it helps to relax and give body enough time to recover. Our ancient ancestors has discovered all these things,. In Kerala we say " HARI KRISHNA" after sneezing.

  24. Victoria Wallcot profile image57
    Victoria Wallcotposted 11 years ago

    According to what I have heard our heart stops for a while when we sneeze so That is the reason we say God bless you or Bless you because during a sneeze we actually die

  25. am301986 profile image60
    am301986posted 11 years ago

    There are several theories for this.

    One theory says that the phrase "God Bless you" came from an Islamic practice which originated over 1400 years ago. According to the Islam religion, when someone sneezed, he should say "All Praises to God" and in response the people would reply "May God Bless You".

    Another explanation is that when people sneezed it was believed that the heart would miss a beat; in that microsecond, the skip would allow the devil to enter the body. Therefore, saying "God bless you" would stop the devil from entering one's body uninvited.

    Another middle ages superstition held that, when one sneezed, a large amount of breath (regarded as the very breath of life) could be expelled suddenly from the body, resulting in death. In case the victim died in this instance, he/she would at least go to heaven with God's Blessing.

    Written records state that the saying goes back to the time of Pope Saint Gregory I, or Gregory the Great, who was Pope of the Catholic Church from September 590 until he died in 604. When Pope Gregory ascended to the Papacy, it was just in time for the start of the Plague, so this Pope is unfortunately known as the patron saint of plague. He believed that constant repetition of litanies and unceasing prayer for God's help and intercession would help ward off sickness. On 16 February 590 A.D., Pope Gregory decreed that whenever someone sneezed, others should say "God bless you" in response. The blessing was given in the hope (or belief) that the one who sneezed wouldn't then develop the plague.

    Perhaps there was more to this than people realised: it is interesting to note that the plague of 590 A.D. dissipated very quickly.

  26. cruelkindness profile image62
    cruelkindnessposted 11 years ago

    Its looking like we might have to get Scooby Doo and the gang.

  27. SidKemp profile image87
    SidKempposted 11 years ago

    In childhood, I heard a different superstition - it was that a sneeze was a sign of a demon departing from you, and the blessing honored the release of the demon.

    Does it make sense to keep a customary habit that has religious or superstitious origins in the 21st century. I think so. Politeness increases in value in a diverse society. And "bless you," it self, is neither religious nor superstitious - it can just be a sign of wishing someone well. As I see it, we can all bless one another, whatever our beliefs.


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