Is it in your second nature to say bless you as soon as someone sneezes?! If yes, you are triumphing at common courtesy, manners and all that which makes your mother immensely proud.
Well, is it all in the name of being polite? Or, is there more to it?
One fine day the mystery of “bless you” harrowed me, and it got me curious. Why exactly do we say it? Come to think of it; not many know the reason behind a bless you. Historians have but failed to decipher the real origin of this custom and all that we have are but theories!
1. To rescue you from the clutches of the Satan
An explosive, enormous sneeze could thrust a man’s soul into the outer space only to be fished by Satan who would always be lurking nearby. This theory deserves a special mention for being extremely superstitious. This ages back to the early years where superstitions ruled gullible humans. According to some, your soul would separate from your body every time you sneeze. To prevent your soul from being stolen by the devil, the invocation “bless you” was uttered. The Devil, in turn, would release the soul to the rightful owner.
Spooked out much?
2. For another chance at life?
Puny humans believe that one’s heart would temporarily stop beating with a sneeze. (Not true!) “Bless you” was a way to congratulate the successful revival of the heart and for another chance to live.
3. Surviving the great bubonic plague epidemic
This one’s slightly more believable to say the least, courtesy Pope Gregory, the celebrated During the 590’s a deadly virus, plagued the country and many citizens lost their lives due to the sickness. Sneezing happened to be one of its main symptoms. Pope George meted out to bless you in the hope for a speedy recovery and good health!
4. Merci for all the luck!
Back in those days, a person sneezing in your direction would be considered incredibly lucky!
Many fortunes would come your way, followed by good health and happiness. Bless you: would just be a gesture to thank the noble soul who sneezed your way and to return the blessing bestowed by him
Bless you or as the Greeks call it “gesundheit” is now just another term we say as a reflex to sneezing. Funnily sneezing itself is a bodily reflex to expel mucus.