Sneezing occasionally is deemed to be good for your health because it cleanses the nasal cavity. That fact aside, there are various superstitions and beliefs associated with sneezing since ancient times, which vary drastically between different cultures.
Blessing people after they sneeze is practiced all over the world. It’s not just a question of politeness; it’s a common superstition, deriving from people’s belief that sneezing is a sure sign of impending illness, and saying “God bless you” breaks the jinx.
In China, folklore regarding sneezing has been passed on through generations. A book describing the rites and customs of the royal family during the Tang Dynasty records that the officials would shout “万岁 (wàn suì “Long live”) whenever the Emperor’s mother sneezed. Today people in some parts of China still use that form of blessing.
These days, the most prevalent superstition regarding sneezing in China is that the number of sneezes dictates if the sneezing is a good or bad omen: sneezing once dictates that someone is speaking ill of you; sneezing twice means you’re being missed by someone; three times, someone is in love with you. More than three? You’ve probably caught a cold!
Also, there is another, less common version that’s based on what time of the day you sneeze: from 1 to 3 am, you’re missed; from 3-5 am, you will receive an invitation for dinner from a member of the opposite sex; 5-7 am, you will soon make a fortune; 11am-1pm, you will have a friend visiting from afar.
Physiologically speaking, sneezing is just one of the body’s reflex responses, and whether a sneeze is associated with anything superstitious or not is up to you.
Photo: Adobe Creative Cloud