This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

 
Issue Features
  
View this issue online as it looks in print
Discovery Magazine 9/1/2003

Why Do We Exclaim, “Bless You!” When Someone Sneezes? and, What is a Sneeze?

by  Digger Doug

Dear Lyn,

Like several of the things our bodies do automatically, sneezing is a defense mechanism. The air that we inhale contains particles of dust, pollen, and mold, which can be harmful to our bodies. A sneeze is the body’s way of getting rid of these “floating menaces.” When we breathe in a large amount of dust, pollen, or mold, the linings in our nose and throat are tickled by the intruding particles. This causes the body to force the air and particles back out very quickly—and we call that a sneeze.

The custom of blessing someone after they sneeze goes back to at least A.D. 77. It apparently was a Roman or Greek custom, but the true reason for it has been lost. Some say that it was to protect the person’s soul, which they believed left the body temporarily while sneezing. Others say that it was to keep evil spirits from entering the body. Still others say that blessing a person when they sneeze gives them good luck. None of these is biblically correct, but it shows what some people used to think when they blessed a sneezing friend. Today, saying, “Bless you!” when someone sneezes usually means, “I sure hope you’re not getting sick!”



Copyright © 2003 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558

http://www.apologeticspress.org

Web Store

Explorer Series 6: Survey of Scripture

This sixth installment in the series is for parents who want their children to understand the essence and thrust of each book of the Bible so that you can get a good handle of God's Word as a whole.

Featured Audio

Listen

Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio