Bless You – Episode #136

Spring has sprung and pollen is everywhere!  If you have allergies, that’s a major problem.  If not, you’re in the clear.  But, you’re still affected by the symptoms of others.  There’s people sneezing all over the place!  So how should we respond?

A)  Cover that up!
B)  Keep that to yourself.
C)  God, Bless you.

At some point we’ve wanted to say all three.  People may have control over which direction they point their snot locker in, but they don’t have any control over the explosive spasm we call a sneeze.


Every country around the globe has its own way of wishing sneezers well.

Arabic countries say, “Alhamdulillah,” which means, “praise be to God.”

Hindus say, “Live!” or “Live well!”

Germans say, “Gesundheit,” which literally means, “health.”


We know what to say, but why do we say it? There are several possible origins. Here are 3 of the most common.

1 – In AD 590 the Bubonic plague was reaching Rome and the Pope ordered parades of prayer all over the city. They though sneezing was an early symptom of the plague so the term “God bless you” became a common phrase in hopes of fighting the disease.

2 – Some say that your soul can be thrown from your body when you sneeze. In that case, sneezing can leave your body open to the devil. Saying bless you will cast out the evil spirit that are attempting to invade your body. The “God bless you” shields you from evil.

3 – Another legend has it that your heart stops beating when you sneeze and the “bless you” encourages your heart to beat again.


Become Better lesson:

  1. Whether you say, “bless you” is up to you, but the person who sneezes should say, “excuse me.”
  2. Even if you don’t believe in the possible origins, saying, “Bless you” just feels socially correct.
  3. We need more peaceful interaction in the world and hearing “excuse me” and “bless you” floating through the air sounds much better than the four letter foul mouth alternatives we sometimes hear in public forums.


2 quick questions – What do you say when someone sneezes around you?  Do you believe the legends?


Helpful link for this post were Wikipedia and Discovery fit & health

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