Why we say “God bless you” – level 3

07-02-2024 15:00

Why do we say “God bless you” when someone sneezes? People cannot say exactly when or where the response started; however, we have some theories.

A long time ago, people thought that when someone sneezed, snot and the soul escaped, too, and to say “God bless you” was to help. Another theory is from the 6th century when a plague struck Europe, and Pope Gregory I formally ordered people shout out blessings to protect someone who sneezed. Similarly, in the 14th century during the bubonic plague, sneezing was a sign that a person might be sick with the plague.

Today, the reaction is mostly ingrained, and people think it is polite. However, people don’t use it worldwide. For example, in Spanish speaking countries, people say “salud”, which can be translated to “good health”.

Difficult words: snot (liquid that comes from someone’s nose when he has a bad cold or sneezes), bubonic plague (the most common type of plague in humans), ingrained (firmly established and difficult to change).

You can watch the video news lower on this page.

What is the origin of saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes?


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