Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 18:00:58 -0400 From: Gregory {Greg} Downing Subject: Re: Bless You At 05:15 PM 10/22/97 PDT, you (Amy Schroeder ) wrote: >My sixth grade teacher, rest her soul, insisted that we say God Bless You, >because, in her opinion, when you sneezed your spirit literally left your >body. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there some ancient Greek source >for this, something along the lines of one's spirit inhabiting the breath? > It's a very common belief in many (hmmm, is nonmodern the right term?) cultures, including ancient Greek. Though he's no longer considered factually reliable in many regards, James Frazer's _The Golden Bough_ is I imagine reliable enough on this very common belief. Check his indexes. Since you breathe when you are alive and when you stop breathing you are dead, breath = life, and breathing out the wrong way is dangerous. Cf. covering one's mouth. (Of course, there are both "practical" and "superstititous" reasons for these things I'm sure.) Gregory {Greg} Downing, at greg.downing[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or downingg[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]