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Sneeze Superstitions

Superstitions of Sneezing!

sneeze superstitions

It’s Springtime finally! This glorious change of weather is often accompanied by the dreaded seasonal allergies and during this time we hear people sneeze so often that our superstitious reactions to them go almost unnoticed.

Sneezing superstitions started centuries ago in conjunction with beliefs that a person’s breath was actually representing his or her soul. It was therefore believed that a  sneeze could release a soul! And the superstition did not end there…It was believed that if your soul is released through a sneeze that you would die shortly thereafter! Sounds hilarious to think about now, but how scary for those that truly believed this?!

Modern-day reactions to sneezing have developed from such folklore. You’ve surely heard someone say “God bless you,” following a sneeze.  It’s just the polite thing to do, right? This phenomenon dates back all the way to the sixth century during the time of Pope Gregory the Great. He first made this remark about sneezing during the bubonic plague epidemic as sneezing was a common symptom of those afflicted with the terrible disease.

Although there are several superstitions that have developed around sneezing from many different cultures and areas throughout the world. Many modern interpretations now believe that when a person sneezes it is a sign of really good luck or it could be a bad omen. So by stating ‘God Bless You’ following a sneeze, you are actually saying a small prayer for the person!

sneeze facts

Some fun sneezing facts!

God Bless You‘s interchangeable  term “gesundheit” comes from 20th Century German immigrants and the literal German translation means “health.”

In Japan, a sneeze signifies that someone is speaking good things about you.

Sneezes travel at over 100MPH!

Myths concerning sneezes have been dated all the way back to early Egyptian and Roman cultures.

The scientific reason for a sneeze was recently explored at WebMD who quoted Neil Kao, MD, an allergy and asthma specialist at the Allergic Disease and Asthma Center in Greenville, S.C. who states,

Sneezes start in your nerves. Everyone’s nervous system is basically wired in the same way.. But signals traveling along nerves can take slightly different paths to and from the brain, resulting in different sneeze scenarios from person to person..It’s a nerve transmission that tells your brain something is in your nose that needs to come out.

For more on sneezing interpretations from around the world check out the in-depth article at!

sneezing in Europe