Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"Bless you" for sneezing?? Not sure if you need that anymore!

Southern California has some of best weather in the United States. Its never too hot or too cold, just right. It doesnt rain a lot here either, but when it does, it rains cats and dogs. At the begining of this year we had rains non-stop for almost 3 weeks. I was lucky to have escaped that because I happened to be on vacation in warm (rather hot) India! Well... the rains seem to have come back again, its been pouring, almost non-stop, for the last 3 days. With rains, come colds and sneezing, which brings me to my topic. Why is it (or has it become) customary for people to say "bless you" when someone nearby sneezes?
Some research into this revealed various theories, ranging from the rather ridiculous "Your soul leaves your body when you sneeze" (and has nowhere else to go, so returns? ;-) ) to the seemingly scientific "your heart stops when you sneeze". But the one that I felt was the most convincing states that it all may have started as early as 150 AD. And predictably, back then it wasnt just out of etiquette of thoughts, but rather due to a serious illness that many Romans died from. One of the symptoms of this illness, as you may have guessed, was sneezing. Over the years, saying "bless you" became a way of wishing a person well or good health. And now it seems to have totally become common courtesy (like saying "thank you" or "you're welcome").

Well... isnt' it a lil' ironic that the more a person has been blessed... the more he has sneezed in life!!

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