Why do People say “God Bless You” When you Sneeze ?

Why do people say bless you ? Saying  “bless you” or “God bless you” after someone sneezes seems to be a reflex response. Why do we feel compelled to say it to anyone who sneezes, “God bless you,” regardless of their religious or cultural background.


  • in English : If you’re expressing the sentiment “Bless you” in English after someone sneezes, you’re using a common and polite response to acknowledge the sneeze and wish the person well. It’s a customary social expression in English-speaking cultures.


  • In Arabic : the equivalent expression to convey good wishes after someone sneezes is “يَرْحَمُكَ اللهُ” (pronounced “yarhamuka Allah”), which translates to “May Allah have mercy on you.” This phrase is commonly used in Arabic-speaking cultures as a polite response to a sneeze.



why do people say bless you when you sneeze

The saying God bless you in response to a sneeze is of ancient origin, and there are a variety of stories about where it first came from.


Why do people say bless you ?


  • Evil spirits: One common belief is that people used to think that sneezing expelled evil spirits from the body. Saying “bless you” was a way to protect the Sneeze from the lingering malevolent forces.


  • Vital force: In ancient times, it was believed that sneezing could potentially expel a person’s soul or vital force. Saying “bless you” was a way of safeguarding the individual and ensuring that their spirit returned to their body.


  • Plague and illness: During periods of plagues or widespread illnesses, people would sneeze as a symptom. “Bless you” was not only a wish for good health but also a way to express concern for the person’s well-being during times of sickness.


  • Religious reasons: In some cultures, the act of sneezing was considered a vulnerable moment when the soul could be at risk. Saying “bless you” was a way to invoke divine protection.


  • In Islam : it is believed that Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, said: “Allah likes sneezing and dislikes yawning. When any one of you sneezes and says ‘alhamdulillah [praise be to Allah]’, it becomes obligatory upon every Muslim who hears him to respond with: “Yarhamuk Allah.
    If you know someone is Muslim and want to tailor your answer accordingly, you can say something like “May God bless you and grant you peace” or simply “Bless you” if you prefer a more general expression



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The question asked was ‘Is it wrong to say “God bless you” when someone sneezes?’ I believe the answer is simply “based on your heart’s intent”.

Today, while many people may not attribute the custom to these historical beliefs, the practice of saying “bless you” after a sneeze has persisted as a social nicety and a way to express good wishes for the person who sneezed.


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