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"bless You"...why?


ireckinso
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Okay so this is trivial I know but I find it truly fascinating. For years I have been a parrot responding to someone’s sneeze with a “bless you.” I would even say it to my dog if she sneezed. Usually, except for the case of my dog, the recipient would parrot back thank you. What the hell is this anyway? I know the origins…

 

 

--When God decided to create Man from the dust of the Earth, He blew the spirit of life into Man's nostrils. In many other religions, the nostrils are considered to be a gateway between the spiritual and physical worlds. Whenever someone sneezes, he or she may be expelling some of the life forces or spirits sent by the Creator. By saying "Bless you", it is believed that you are preventing evil spirits from entering the sufferer's body through the nostrils.—

 

 

There are other theories but they mostly parallel this one.

 

Does anyone else feel guilty if you don’t say bless you to a sneeze? I have actually tried to stop this habit and still catch myself doing it from time to time. It doesn’t seem to be as bad if someone says it, kind of takes the pressure off. One thing I have stopped doing is saying thank you when some one blesses me after sneezing. I didn’t ask them to make an issue of my sneeze and if I don’t believe in god I’m sure not going to believe that an ordinary persons blessing is going to help me in anyway. I could say "Gesundheit" I guess which basically means “may you be called healthy,” but then I think why? You don’t say anything to a cough.

 

 

Just thought I would throw it out there to see if anyone else has thought the same thing.:shrug:

 

 

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This bugs me too. My response depends on who's doing the sneezing. With a co-worker or someone I'm not that close to, I try to ignore the sneeze. But if it's someone I'm close to, especially one of my xtian family members, I'll laugh and jokingly(?) say, "Whoa! What a sneeze! Still got your brain in there, don't ya?" wicked.gif

 

When I sneeze, I quickly say "'Scuuuse meee!" -- hopefully before anyone has a chance to say Bless You. I always thought that the people doing the sneezing should say "Excuse me (for spewing germs all over the place)" but how often do you hear that? GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif

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This "bless you" thing for what is a natural function bothers me. So many people say it that I feel like I am being unfriendly or unkind by not repeating this ridiculously superstitious phrase. I prefer the German word "gesundheit" (health to you) but no one says that anymore.

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I usually use Gesundheit, but that may partly because my foreign language was German and it's fun to use.

 

The reason I tend to react to a sneeze more than a cough is that sneezes seem more serious. A cough, maybe you're just clearing your throat. A sneeze, you're either sick or there was a sudden irritant. And I know that for me sneezing is scary when I'm driving because I can't watch the road while sneezing. And they're loud, and therefore surprising. I'd rather say something polite that shows concern for the sneezer than random expressions of surprise. If it's someone I know, I also want them to know I'm ready to grab a tissue for them if they need it.

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Isn't it an old incantation for keeping evil spirits from invading when you achoo?

 

I agree "bless you" is annoying. My granddaughter insists on saying it whenever I sneeze (which is often amidst the poochies) and we have to also go through the thank you and your welcome crap

 

. Strange that litres of gas expelled at both ends by the curtain-climbers goes unblessed.

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Another atheist friend told me this, and it rather became a running joke. I tell them that every time they sneeze, an angel looses its wings. And if they sneeze three times in a row, the angel explodes. :HaHa:

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Another atheist friend told me this, and it rather became a running joke. I tell them that every time they sneeze, an angel looses its wings. And if they sneeze three times in a row, the angel explodes. :HaHa:

 

Thats awesome!:lmao:

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if memory serves it dates back to the time of the Black plauge. There were so many deaths occuring that priests could keep up with the last rites. So the pope said if anyone says bless you when they sneeze they you will be fine.

 

It just weaved its way into common parlance from there.

 

I say. Do whatever you want.

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It doesn't bother me so much as the phrase "thank God". My mother who might as well be an atheist says it all the time and it annoys the crap out of me. When people sneeze I generally don't say anything and I don't care if they say anything when I sneeze.

 

Since we're talking about sneezing, I thought this to be most appropriate:

 

 

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This is terrible, but I'm simply ignorant about this: is "God Bless You" an Americanism, or is it a standard response to a sneeze in English speaking countries throughout the world?

 

I do know that the sneeze response is cultural. "Gesundheit" is also common, and sometimes I use it. I learned to use "salud" with Hispanic neighbors I had once who really helped improve my high school Spanish. I'll use the very similar "salute" at home or among certain Italian Americans. Finally, my Russian speaking friend taught me a response that sounds something like "boodzarov" if the sneezer was male or "boodzarova" if the sneezer was female. As far as I can tell, nobody says anything if you sneeze in Japan (I lived there for two years in the 1980's), much the same as if you cough.

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This is terrible, but I'm simply ignorant about this: is "God Bless You" an Americanism, or is it a standard response to a sneeze in English speaking countries throughout the world?

 

I do know that the sneeze response is cultural. "Gesundheit" is also common, and sometimes I use it. I learned to use "salud" with Hispanic neighbors I had once who really helped improve my high school Spanish. I'll use the very similar "salute" at home or among certain Italian Americans. Finally, my Russian speaking friend taught me a response that sounds something like "boodzarov" if the sneezer was male or "boodzarova" if the sneezer was female. As far as I can tell, nobody says anything if you sneeze in Japan (I lived there for two years in the 1980's), much the same as if you cough.

 

I like the russian version, I might use that one and see what kind of a response I get, just for kicks!:woohoo:

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I'm 100% with you on this one OP. I've never understood why sneezing elicits an automatic response. Why not coughing? Why not burping or farting? Maybe I'm a party pooper but I can't bring myself to say even if I know I'm expected too. My girlfriend and I use the "You're so good looking" to kind of make fun of the whole convention.

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I dated a guy who would say "good body" to any natural body function (burp, fart, cough, sneeze) that occurred in his presence. I've taken that one up, myself.

 

Phanta

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Another atheist friend told me this, and it rather became a running joke. I tell them that every time they sneeze, an angel looses its wings. And if they sneeze three times in a row, the angel explodes. :HaHa:

Hi! :wave:

 

I've been excusing myself after sneezing for a couple years now but I'm thinking of sprucing it up. Maybe "pardon my microbes" will turn a few heads.

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I say bless you because it's a nice thing to do. When somebody sneezes and I say "bless you", they're not thinking "oh what a good christian" or "wow I do feel blessed. I think I'll become a preacher now". They say thanks and go back to work or whatever they were doing.

 

I'm not saying that if you don't say it you're not nice. But I will say this: if I were standing in a room with five people and one of them sneeze and I say "bless you", the only thing anybody is probably thinking (if anything at all) is "he's a nice guy".

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Another atheist friend told me this, and it rather became a running joke. I tell them that every time they sneeze, an angel looses its wings. And if they sneeze three times in a row, the angel explodes. :HaHa:

 

Awesome. I'll be borrowing that

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Another atheist friend told me this, and it rather became a running joke. I tell them that every time they sneeze, an angel looses its wings. And if they sneeze three times in a row, the angel explodes. :HaHa:

Hi! :wave:

 

I've been excusing myself after sneezing for a couple years now but I'm thinking of sprucing it up. Maybe "pardon my microbes" will turn a few heads.

 

S'up! :woohoo: You know, depending on how much you like everyone within the "blast radius," you could say, "Damn, I hope that's not contagious!" after you sneeze. :HaHa:

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I usually say "Take that!" after I sneeze (fart, etc.).

 

It's enough to put people off and not want be "kind" and "bless me" or anything.

 

mwc

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