Someone may have said this to you after you sneezed. Sometimes you won’t even know who said it. Why is saying bless you so common? Good question. We’re here to answer it, sort of.
Origins of Bless You
Bless you has many origins. The first is the belief that it will save you from certain death when Europe was hit by the plague. The expression may also have originated from superstition: a sneeze might expel the spirit from the body. By saying “bless you” or “God bless you”, it will prevent this from happening. Some ancient cultures believed that sneezing forced evil spirits from the body. Therefore, the person who sneezed and those around them will be protected.
There was also a period where sneezes allowed the devil to steal the person’s soul. Another spooky one was evil spirits used a sneeze to rush into the body.
The devil, demons, and death are apparently closely associated with sneezes. There was another thought where people died for a brief moment and the saying encouraged the heart to beat again.
Looks like sneezes are quite deadly. Or, it may be just a way for people to acknowledge your sneeze. We’ll take that one over the demons and death.
Ever wondered how other cultures respond to sneezes?
German – “Gesundheit”
Hindu – “Live” and responds “With you”
Zulu – “I am now blessed”
Greeks and Romans – “Banish the Omen”
Interesting Facts About Sneezes
Never thought there would be interesting facts to learn about sneezes, right? Well, here are six facts about sneezes that you might have never known (and are probably useless.)
Sneezes can’t be stopped when they start. They’re an automatic reflex.
The sneeze spray can scatter up to five feet and travel at a speed of 100 miles per hour.
You can’t sneeze when you’re asleep. This is because the nerve reflex is also resting.
The nerve endings in your face are irritated if you sneeze when plucking your eyebrows. This will fire an impulse that reaches the nasal nerve.
The longest continuous sneeze was for 978 days by Donna Griffiths from Worcestershire, England.
Jokes aside, holding in sneezes can be dangerous. So, better just let it out when you get the chance.