Bless you. Gesundheit. Salud. À tes souhaits. Na zdraví. All these are the blessings that are used in different countries when you sneeze. Sneezing can be caused by irritation of the nasal passages, it may be a reaction to a dusty environment, but it may also have a hidden meaning that has been discussed for thousands of years.
Let’s take a look at several sneezing superstitions from around the world.
There is an old German superstitions that said when a person sneezed, his soul departed the body for an instant. If he said a quick blessing, Gesundheit, it would prevent the entry of a demon at this awkward time. In medieval England, as well as in the previous German superstition, a sneeze was believed to be the soul trying to escape the body, and saying „Bless you“ forced it back in again,
In early England, it was the custom to doff the hat and bow while saying Gesundheit. Some Christians would cross themselves and say, „Bless me.“
Some African natives would say, „Far from you!“ and make the gesture of shooting away evil, while others would exclaim, „Save you!“ Samoans said, „Life to you.“
The Scots believed that a newborn baby was under the power of a fairy until it gave its first sneeze, then the spell was broken, Midwives carried snuff with them to induce sneezing. During baptism if a baby sneezed, it was a bad omen.
In the Czech Republic, it is believed that sneezing is a confirmation of the truth. If you sneeze during the conversation, it is common to say, „Je to pravda!“ which literally means „It’s true!“
A myth that goes back to Roman times is the belief that if a woman sneezes at the moment of orgasm, she will not become pregnant.
Some sneezes brought good luck. If a sailor sneezed on the starboard side of the ship as the vessel departed, it would have a lucky voyage. However, to sneeze on the port size, the ship would encounter foul weather.
To sneeze in the morning before breakfast meant you would receive a present before the weekend. If you sneezed before you got up on Sunday, it meant a wedding was coming.
If a sick person sneezed, recovery was on the way. But it was bad luck for a bride or groom to seeze during the wedding ceremony.
If a household cat sneezed three times, the family would soon have colds. At other times a cats sneeze meant rain was on the way.
The number of successive sneezes at one time foretold the future. An old rhyme says:
One for a kiss, two for a wish,
Three for a letter, four for a better,
Five for silver, six for gold,
Seven for a secret never to be told.