Well, how did this start? There are three theories about this. One is that in the olden times, people believe that when one sneeze your heart stops for a fraction of a second, thus when one a person sneezes, people will say “God bless you!” to signify that you survived a temporary death.
Another belief is that a sneeze is helps dispels evil spirits. So when one sneeze, people will say, “God bless you!” to help constantly dispel the evil spirit.
The last belief, and the one I really personally believe that started this “tradition” is during the 6th Century, there was great pestilence that happened in Italy at that time. This pestilence naturally caused a lot of illness and death. One of the initial symptoms of the said pestilence is a cold, which is usually preceded by sneezing. Pope Gregory the Great who was the pope at that time instructed the public to say a prayer for those who sneeze to help stop the disease. He further instructed that the prayer be preceded by a “God bless you!” to the one who sneezed.
People might have forgotten the origin but a custom, albeit a shallow one, even though one doesn’t really understand it, is hard to break.
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