The Sneezing Superstitions: Why People Say “Bless You” After You Sneeze

You can’t hold it in; the pressure behind your nose is building and the bright sunlight is triggering a reflex, and try as you might you can’t hold it back… “ACHOO!” You sneezed! 

 Did your soul just leave your body? Did a demon slip inside you in a moment of vulnerability? Is someone gossiping about you? Are you going to die? Believe it or not, all of these questions were taken seriously at various points in history, all because of Sneezing superstitions.

Sneezing is nothing unusual. It happens every day all over the world to countless people, and in many cultures the traditional response- delivered in most cases by reflex is either “God bless you” or “Gesunheit.” 

The latter is a German and Yiddish word that means, roughly “better health”, and is meant as “good vibes” and a positive thing. 

A sneeze is often associated with sickness, so a wish for good health makes sense; another reason why sneezing was seen as being highly superstitious was because people used to believe that sneezing was a sign that the soul was leaving the body and death was close by.

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