On This Day…590AD


On This Day...
16 February 590AD

On this day in 590AD Pope Gregory the Great declares that people should say ‘God bless you‘ when someone sneezes.

Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great), one of only two Popes to be referred to as ‘The Great‘, held office from 590AD until his death in 604AD.

The invocation of the blessing ‘God bless you‘ when a person sneezed originated from the belief that a sneeze was a means by which a person’s soul or vital essence escaped the body hence the sneeze was considered to be a most undesirable thing and people who were unfortunate enough to sneeze needed blessing.

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