For all you that say "Bless you" when someone sneezes.... - AnabolicMinds.com

For all you that say "Bless you" when someone sneezes....

  1. Banned
    dannyboy9's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Age
    27
    Posts
    320
    Rep Power
    0

    Reputation

    For all you that say "Bless you" when someone sneezes....


    ....but don't even know why

    Dear Straight Dope:

    How or why did saying "God bless you" become associated as an expression one says to another after the other sneezes? I've found some reasons listed below, but, somehow, I don't think any of them are very legitimate:

    * When someone sneezes his heart stops and saying "God bless you" means "I'm glad your heart started again."
    * Saying "God bless you" when you sneeze keeps the devil from flying down your throat.
    * When someone sneezes, say "God bless you and may the devil miss you."
    * When you sneeze your soul tries to escape and saying "God bless you" crams it back in (said by Millhouse in an episode of The Simpsons).

    How about giving me the Straight Dope? --Rob Amato, Washington, DC

    SDSTAFF Songbird replies:

    If you've just sneezed, Rob, I think I'd rather give you a box of Kleenex.

    The custom of saying "God bless you" after a sneeze was begun literally as a blessing. Pope Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) ascended to the Papacy just in time for the start of the plague (his successor succumbed to it). Gregory (who also invented the ever-popular Gregorian chant) called for litanies, processions and unceasing prayer for God's help and intercession. Columns marched through the streets chanting, "Kyrie Eleison" (Greek for "Lord have mercy"). When someone sneezed, they were immediately blessed ("God bless you!") in the hope that they would not subsequently develop the plague. All that prayer apparently worked, judging by how quickly the plague of 590 AD diminished.

    The connection of sneezing to the plague is not the first association of sneezing with death. According to Man, Myth, and Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown, many cultures, even some in Europe, believe that sneezing expels the soul--the "breath of life"--from the body. That doesn't seem too far-fetched when you realize that sneezing can send tiny particles speeding out of your nose at up to 100 miles per hour!

    We know today, of course, that when you sneeze, your heart doesn't stop, nor will your eyes pop out if you can keep them open (www.straightdope.com/classics/a2_30 4.html), nor does your soul get expelled. What does get expelled are hundreds upon thousands of microscopic germs. The current advice when you sneeze is to cover your mouth with your arm rather than your hand. That way, all those germs won't be on your hands when you touch the countless things you're going to touch in the course of the day (don't tell us; we don't want to know).

    There are many superstitions regarding sneezing, some of which you've already listed. But here are some of my favorites.

    Sneeze on Monday for health,
    Sneeze on Tuesday for wealth,
    Sneeze on Wednesday for a letter,
    Sneeze on Thursday for something better,
    Sneeze on Friday for sorrow,
    Sneeze on Saturday, see your sweetheart tomorrow,
    Sneeze on Sunday, safety seek.

    One for sorrow
    Two for joy
    Three for a letter
    Four for a boy.
    Five for silver
    Six for gold
    Seven for a secret, never to be told.

    And lastly, a sneeze before breakfast is a sign that you will hear exciting news before the end of the day.

    I assume you sneezed this morning, Rob, because you've just been blessed with the Straight Dope.

    --SDSTAFF Songbird
    Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

  2. New Member
    Skyblue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Age
    25
    Posts
    176
    Rep Power
    188

    Reputation

    i sneeze to get the straight dope out of my freakin nostril.

Similar Forum Threads

  1. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-02-2009, 08:14 PM
  2. Whats the perfect volume for all of upper body for YOU?
    By pjorstad in forum Exercise Science
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 11-26-2006, 10:10 PM
  3. A nice read for all you careless bulkers
    By jminis in forum Weight Loss
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 07-06-2004, 09:16 PM
  4. For all you bored mofos at work
    By goldylight in forum General Chat
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-09-2004, 06:52 PM
  5. For all of you SMOKERS out there ......
    By Dr of Golf in forum General Chat
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-13-2003, 08:02 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Log in