Pope Gregory

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Sneeze! God Bless You!

Published Agosto 23, 2015 by jptan2012

sneezingPeople, especially those in the Christian world, has the habit of saying “God bless you!” when somebody sneezed.

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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