December 19, 2006 5:45pm CST
Sneezing & superstitions (this is pretty interesting): Zulu - Among the Zulu a person who has just sneezed proclaims "I am now blessed; the ancestral spirit is with me. It has come to me. Let me salute it, for it is he who causes me to sneeze." India - In India the sneeze is very important. After you sneeze the people around you will say "Live," and you must respond, "Live with you!." Indians consider the sneeze to be a sign of health. Western/America - In western cultures the sneeze is often viewed with suspicion. We say bless you not because the heart skips a beat or because your soul has exited your body (as some south Pacific Natives believe). We say "bless you" because of the Black Death of 590 A.D. The bubonic plague killed off half of Europe. The plague was recognized by rashes, swelling, and fits of sneezing. Since death often followed sneezing, people began to say "bless you" as a final blessing. Can you sneeze to death? It may be possible! According a BBC report, Anthony Dean Rice, of Wales, had been camping with his family last month, in Scarborough, when just such an incident occurred. His father recounted how the 18-year-old "sneezed twice, then there was one tremendous sneeze and he said something had popped in his ear. With that he just collapsed on the floor."
• United States
20 Dec 06
Thanks for sharing, I didn't know that! In America, it could be the flu, or a cold, or allergies, or sinuses (basically anything!). So we have Zulu, India, American & Greece. What other customs are related to sneezing & from what cultures?