Saturday, June 12, 2010


One person might sneeze and ten will say “God Bless You”. Some even take it offensively if you don’t say that after a sneeze. Think about it.. What does God have to do with a blessing? There really isn’t any need for anyone to be asking for God’s blessings after a sneeze. In this case we should say “God Bless You” after a cough or hiccups also.. But we don’t? Hmm strange isn’t it..
The blessing started from the time when plague took over Europe. People who suffered from this begin to sneeze violently. The sneeze was so brutal that it could even lead to death. The pope then decided to pass a law which required people to bless the sneezer. Medically, the sneezers were supposed to cover their mouth while coughing to prevent the spreading of the disease. Instead, people believed that it was to keep the soul intact because if they were to sneeze in the air then they would allow the soul to escape and death would be imminent. So “God Bless You” is just a myth which has been carried on from centuries.


  1. Sidrakhalid you are correct that we follow a sneeze with "God Bless You" out of historical myths. Found this on Wikipedia

    In Ancient Greece, sneezes were believed to be prophetic signs from the gods. In 410 BC, for instance, the Athenian general Xenophon gave a dramatic oration exhorting his fellow soldiers to follow him to liberty or to death against the Persians. He spoke for an hour motivating his army and assuring them of a safe return to Athens until a soldier underscored his conclusion with a sneeze. Thinking that this sneeze was a favorable sign from the gods, the soldiers bowed before Xenophon and followed his command. Another divine moment of sneezing for the Greeks occurs in the story of Odysseus. When Odysseus returns home disguised as a beggar and talks with his waiting wife Penelope, she says to Odysseus, not knowing to whom she speaks, that "[her husband] will return safely to challenge her suitors"". At that moment, their son sneezes loudly and Penelope laughs with joy, reassured that it is a sign from the gods (Odyssey 17: 541-550).

    In Europe, principally around the early Middle Ages, it was believed that one's life was in fact tied to one's breath - a belief reflected in the word "expire" (originally meaning "to exhale") gaining the additional meaning of "to come to an end" or "to die". This connection, coupled with the significant amount of breath expelled from the body during a sneeze, had likely [citation needed] led people to believe that sneezing could easily be fatal. This theory, if proven conclusively, could in turn explain the reasoning behind the traditional "God bless you" response to a sneeze, the origins of which are currently unclear. (see "Traditional Responses To A Sneeze" below for alternative explanations). Sir Raymond Henry Payne Crawfurd, for instance, the late registrar of the Royal College of Physicians, in his 1909 book "The Last Days of Charles II", states that, when the controversial monarch was on his deathbed, his medical attendants administered a concoction of cowslips and extract of ammonia to promote sneezing.[4] However, it is not known if this promotion of sneezing was done to hasten his death (as coup de grace), or as an ultimate attempt at treatment.

  2. Interesting Post. I never gave saying "God Bless You" to someone much thought, it was always just an automatic response. The history of it is rather funny, that the Pope made it a law and that people covered their mouths to prevent their souls from escaping. I was going to say "it shows how far we have come over the centuries," but their are people who believe some things just as implausible as that. Good Post.

  3. I think that is how the "God Bless You" started out, but I think it has changed really to just a courtesy thing or good manners. Some of it too is as someone else pointed out just out of habit. Maybe it is crazy, but when I hear people say it I automatically think of them as a nice person. Almost like they are saying I hope you feel better. Although most people don't really even think about it when they say it.