Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sneezing: Your soul trying to escape..... Quick! Catch it!

Most people think that saying, "God Bless You" when someone sneezes originated during the bubonic plague era. This is correct because it is documented that Pope Gregory the Great began saying this to people infected with the plague because sneezing is a symptom of the plague. Also, people began responding to sneezes because of an ancient belief that sneezing is the soul leaving the body and saying, "God Bless You" would stop the devil from capturing it. Despite the thousands of years that have gone by, we still continue to say this when someone sneezes. The reason for this, I believe, is out of etiquette. It seems to be polite to recant this statement when someone sneezes. The fact that it originated out of ancient religious-type beliefs does not seem to be a factor in anyone's mind. Many people know this explanation and origin of the saying, but still say it. Even many atheists will say it, despite their beliefs. It is ingrained into our society, just like many rituals. What's funny is that we don't "bless" anyone when they perform any other bodily action, like burping or passing gas. If fact, it is considered rude when you burp or fart, but when you sneeze it is like an inconvenience to you that people around you have to almost apologize for. At least that what it seems like to me. If you burp or fart, you have to say "excuse me" or apologize in some way because those actions are considered rude. But if you sneeze, people are almost apologizing to you by saying, "God Bless You." Its like they are trying to make you feel better. For what ever reason you want to believe, this is just a norm in our society.

1 comment:

  1. I thought this was very interesting, I never knew how saying "god bless you" to someone who sneezed started. I agree that know a days people say it out of being polite, I know that when someone sneezes around me I feel that I am obligated to say it even though I don't know why.