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Bless You

Baby girl sneeze

“Bless you” or “God bless you” is something people automatically say when they hear somebody sneeze. This practice dates back to at least AD 77. Some people suggest that it came from the folk belief that a person’s soul could be thrown from their body when they sneeze, thus opening to an invasion by the devil or evil spirits. In this case, “bless you” is a type of shield against evil. Other people have suggested that in the past people thought the heart stopped beating during a sneeze, and thus “bless you” encourages the heart to keep beating.

In some other countries, however, when somebody sneezes it is customary to wish them health, as in “Gesundheit” (German) or “salud” (Spanish).

In Indian and Persian cultures, sneezing sometimes is called "sabr =صبر," meaning "to wait or be patient." When somebody starts sneezing when going somewhere or doing something, they should wait and restart.

In French, people often say "to your wishes" (à tes / vos souhaits) after the first sneeze, "to your loves" (à tes / vos amours) after the second, and "that they last forever" (qu’elles durent toujours) after the third.

In Latin America, it is custom to say “health" (Salud), "Jesus", or "God bless you" (Dios te bendiga), after the first sneeze, "money" (dinero) after the second, and "love" (amor) after the third. It can also be Jesus, Maria, and Jose (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph).

Often in Japan or China it is customary to not say anything at all. Superstition says that they are being talked about somewhere.

In Ritharrŋu, people comment “you have released nose water”, to which people usually respond “I am dry now”.

 

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