- According to historians, the common tradition of saying “God bless you” or “bless you” started way back the Black Death Pandemic.
- Pope Gregory I urged the faithful to pray for and bless those afflicted by the disease.
It’s a common phrase we hear – or we may have even said it ourselves – whenever someone sneezes. “God bless you” or simply “bless you” has often followed a sneeze and while Christendom has pointed out its first biblical mention in Numbers chapter 6 verse 24 of the Old Testament (the passage reads “The Lord bless you and keep you”), the phrase has commonly been used as a farewell message.
So how did it end up becoming an automatic response to sneezing? According to historians, the tradition traces its roots back to the days of the bubonic plague, which is also known as the Black Death pandemic.
In a blog by the UCatholic website, we learn that Pope Gregory I encouraged believers to pray for divine help during the destructive plague that claimed numerous lives in Europe. He also told the people to quickly bless those who sneeze – one of the signs of getting infected with the lethal disease.
In a New York Times feature, Fordham University history professor W. David Myers further explained:
“For European Christians, when the first plague that weakened the now Christian Roman Empire around 590, Pope Gregory the Great believed that a sneeze was an early warning sign of plague, so he commanded Christians to respond to a sneeze with a blessing.”
The tradition stuck and spread and eventually, the short phrase was further shortened after some began to drop the name of diety, reducing it to only “bless you” in an attempt to make it a bit a more universal.
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist and social scientist Dr. Omar Sultan Haque said that some atheists do not like the three-word blessing and so for them, a simple “bless you” is preferable as it only implies a wish for good health.
Frank Farley, a professor of psychology in Temple University also added:
“Saying simply ‘bless you’ also reduces religious implications or revelations about your own beliefs. It’s more nonsectarian.”
Watch this video to learn more:
Follow On Facebook
Woman Meets Tragic End While Trying to Take Selfie During Picnic With Friends
10-Year-Old Girl Dies In Italy After Playing TikTok’s ‘Blackout Challenge’
Petrified Wood Found in Australia Reveals Rare Turquoise Opal
Husband Allegedly Threw Boiling Water Over Wife When She Woke Him Up For Breakfast In Bed
Fans Believe The Simpsons Predicted VP Kamala Harris’ Inauguration Outfit
Man Joins Navy To Prove The Earth Is Flat, Ends Up Disappointed
Germany Implements Stricter Mask Rules To Slow Covid Spread
Japanese Student Refused To Wear Face Mask Properly Gets Disqualified At University Exams
Shocking Moment YouTuber Eats McDonald’s Burger He Buried Underground 14 Months Ago
Missing Teen Snowmobiler Builds Snow Cave To Survive Until Rescuers Found Him
Mom Shares Her $9.28 Paycheck After Working For 70 Hours As A Waitress
First Artificial Heart Approved For Sale in Europe
Mom And 3 Children Found Dead At Home, Authorities Are Convinced It’s A Murder-Suicide
Indonesia Earthquake: 6.2 Quake Destroys Buildings, Claims Dozens Of Lives In Sulawesi
Monkey Tail Beards Is Officially A Thing This 2021
Actor Liam Neeson Says He’s Retiring From Action Movies
Global COVID Death Toll Reaches 2 Million
Post-COVID Lungs Look More Damaged Than Smokers’, Says Doctor
Guy Too Afraid To Fly Because of COVID Lived In The Airport For 3 Months
Hardcore Band Converge Gets Hate Messages After Filipinos Mistake Them As Internet Provider