Why Do We Say “God Bless You” after Someone Sneezes?
The reason for saying “God bless you” after someone sneezes cannot be traced to any single origin. But it seems to be connected with ancient beliefs.
Ancient man believed that a person’s breath contained his or her spirit, or soul, and that a sneeze might accidentally expel a person’s soul. Therefore, a wish was spoken for God to bless that person and prevent the soul from escaping.
Other people believed that sneezing was a sign of death. So when anyone sneezed, they would say, “God help you,” willing the person to remain alive.
Moreover, in the past some people may have thought that the heart stops beating during a sneeze, and that the phrase “God bless you” encourages the heart to continue beating.
In some cultures, sneezing is seen as a sign of good fortune or God’s beneficence.