21 Superstitions about Sneezing

Updated on April 10, 2018

Sneezing occasionally is actually a healthy sign because it cleanses the nasal cavity by expelling mucus that contains irritants or foreign particles. However, since ancient times various superstitions and beliefs are associated with sneezing. While in some parts of the world a sneeze is considered auspicious, in certain cultures sneezing is inauspicious and considered a bad omen. Though parallel beliefs associated with sneezing exist globally, in varied cultures from around the world superstitions in regard with sneezing vary drastically. In ethnic cultures, sneezing is considered a sign from a supreme power conceived as a warning about a calamity in the future. Furthermore, sneezing superstitions are not confined to just humans. There are superstitious beliefs in certain cultures about animals such as cats, dogs, iguanas, and chickens sneezing.


In many cultures the customary practice of saying “God Bless You’ after a person sneezes is expressed in myriad ways. It is believed the expression “God Bless You” came into being associated with sneezing during the black plague dating back to 1665. The deadly Bubonic plague that swept Europe was responsible for a large number of deaths. One of the notable symptoms prevalent among individuals before their death by this epidemic was sneezing. Thus, the Pope made a law that anybody who sneezed be blessed with the divine words. There are numerous theories, beliefs, superstitions and myths surrounding sneezing that impact individuals positively or negatively. Since early times good luck and bad luck or good omens and bad omens have been associated with sneezing.


Sneezing Superstitions in History: Legends and Beliefs

Superstitions or superstitious beliefs are often passed onto generations. There is a fine line between belief and superstition which is often misunderstood in different cultures. What manifests in the mind strangely develops into a belief or superstition which goes onto to become a focal point in community and culture. Age old beliefs in mythology and folklore have been passed on through generations and embroiled into what is conceived as traditional belief.

A myth often builds the foundation for different types of superstitious beliefs. It may sound strange or absurd, but the truth is some of the deadliest superstitions prevalent in ancient times are prevalent among various cultures in the modern world. While attributes in regard with superstition have a broad perspective, individual belief manifests at different phases in life. The myths and beliefs about sneezing in different cultures take shape through a traditional structure passed on through generations.

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13 Legends and Beliefs about Sneezing

  1. The Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and Romans believed sneezing was sign of the Gods revealing the hidden future. A sneeze was associated with being a good omen or bad omen bringing good luck or misfortune.
  2. In the Middle Ages sneezing was considered a bad omen, this stemming from the belief that life was tied to breath. The significant amount of breath expelled during a sneeze led people in the Middle Ages to believe something fatal would occur in the days ahead.
  3. In Polish Culture sneezing is believed to be an inauspicious sign. The belief is when a person sneezes his mother-in law is talking ill of him. In case the person that sneezes is unmarried, he may have a bad relationship with his mother-in-law once married. In the same vein this strange superstitious belief applies to girls. This superstition has fast become a popular belief in the modern age.
  4. Superstition associated with sneezing in Eastern Asia is rather diverse. However, a parallel belief about sneezing in Japanese culture, Korean culture, Vietnamese culture and Chinese culture attributes a great deal to gender. A popular superstitious belief prevalent in Eastern Asian countries is if a person is being talked about behind their back, it causes the person being talked about to sneeze loudly. Furthermore the number of sneezes dictates if something bad or something good is being said. 1 Sneeze (People are speaking good things about you) 2 Sneezes in a row (People are speaking bad things about you) 3 Sneezes in a row (A sign that someone is in love with you or you may fall in love soon) Multiple Sneezes (A calamity will come upon the person or his family)
  5. In Islamic culture beliefs are based on prophetic teachings and tradition. In Muslim countries it is customary for the person that sneezes to say “Al-hamdu- Lillah”which means “Praise Be to God” and his/her companions should utter the words “Yarhamuk-Allaha” (May God Have Mercy on You) to which the sneezer should respond with “Yahdeekum Allah Wa Yuslihu Baalakum” meaning “May Allah guide You”.
  6. In Indian culture sneezing before going to work or sneezing as you step out of your home is considered inauspicious. It is customary to pause when you sneeze and drink a little water to break the jinx and avoid misfortune.
  7. In certain cultures it is considered good luck when a person sneezes between noon and midnight, while in certain cultures the same is considered a bad omen.
  8. In certain ethnic communities when two individuals sneeze at the same time it is believed Gods are happy and will bless people with good health.
  9. In some cultures sneezing when you are dressing up in the morning is considered bad luck, the belief being misfortune may occur during the day.
  10. In certain cultures it is considered good luck if you turn your head to the right while sneezing and bad luck if you turn your head to the left.
  11. In some cultures a cat sneezing is considered good luck, the belief being a cat sneeze expels bad luck and brings prosperity.
  12. In certain ancient cultures individuals who sneezed were congratulated as it was believed the person sneezing was freed from the clutches of an evil spirit.
  13. In certain cultures it is believed when two or more people are having a conversation and when one of them sneezes, it reveals truth in what was being said, talked or discussed.

While in this digital age people tend to ignore sneezing as a spasmodic involuntary response due to the presence of foreign particles, an allergy, or cold, in the back of their mind lurk questions of possibilities that cannot be explained. Could it be good luck or could it be bad luck…


21 Superstitions about Sneezing

Good Omen- When you Sneeze Belief is…

  1. You will prosper in your Professional life.
  2. You will make new friends and build fruitful relationships.
  3. You will overcome difficulties.
  4. You will take the right decision/s.
  5. You will be able to convince people.
  6. You will do everything with a positive approach.
  7. Your chances of winning a lottery jackpot are exceedingly high.
  8. You will have a life-changing conversation with a stranger.
  9. You will buy something very expensive, most likely property or a house.
  10. You will receive a large sum of money.
  11. Somebody in your family will give you good news.
  12. You will meet someone you haven’t met in years.
  13. All plans about your future will be carried out smoothly.
  14. You will be offered a high profile job with a high pay package.
  15. An unexpected guest may arrive at your doorstep bringing happiness and joy.
  16. You will meet influential people.
  17. You won’t get anxious and worried in the future.
  18. You will lead and motivate others.
  19. You are likely to find your soulmate.
  20. You will bring calm and help make peace in a situation filled with turmoil.
  21. You will take responsibility and delegate responsibility wisely.

Bad Omen- When you Sneeze Belief is…

  1. You will lose your job in the days ahead.
  2. People in your family are gossiping and talking bad things about you.
  3. You will take a hasty decision that will cause your downfall.
  4. You will suffer a huge financial loss.
  5. A secret you have hidden for many years will be revealed.
  6. Someone is conspiring, planning and plotting against you.
  7. Death of a loved one is likely to occur.
  8. You will despair and lose hope.
  9. Your relationship with a person you love and trust will turn sour over a fight.
  10. Someone at your workplace will ruin your prospects of a promotion.
  11. Your marital life will be plagued with discord or you may part ways with your partner.
  12. You plans will be ruined by misfortune.
  13. A person you do not like or care for will tarnish your image.
  14. You will suffer from anxiety and depression.
  15. A guest staying over at your house will bring negativity in your life.
  16. An argument will sever ties with family members or a friend.
  17. You will be filled with envy and hate.
  18. You will get addicted to something or an addiction will ruin you completely.
  19. You will start doubting people you trust.
  20. You will be in debt.
  21. You will suffer because of somebody else’s wrongdoing.

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    © 2018 Ansel Pereira


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