Posted by ESC on September 20, 2001
In Reply to: Why do we say "God bless you" after a sneeze? posted by Dee on September 20, 2001
: I have a project due in school and my assignment is to find out why we say "God Bless You" to someone after they sneeze. I can't find any concrete info. Can anyone help?
GOD BLESS YOU -- "I wish you well. Samuel Johnson's (1709-84) last words on his deathbed in 1784 were 'God bless you, my dear!' The phrase is also used when someone sneezes, since in many cultures it is believed that the soul leaves the body during a sneeze, and God is called on to protect the sneezer from evil spirits at such a vulnerable time. The word 'God' is often omitted." From "The Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).
See Bruce's post for a link to earlier discussions.