History Junkie Explains
The Sneeze Blessing
The voices in my head told me to write:
I was just perusing some of the letters and I came across the one where you discussed your annoyance with the inevitable "Bless You", after a sneeze. I don't have any solutions, but as a history junkie I can give you one theory on how it got started.
Evidently one of the symptoms of bubonic plague is fits of sneezing, followed closely by death (see the origin of the children's rhyme "Ring Around The Rosy"). With so many people dying and not enough priests to issue last rites, the common rabble were given the authority to administer a final blessing. When someone started sneezing, they were immediately "blessed" lest they die without the final sacrament.
Keep on keepin' on
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