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為何老美聽見別人打噴嚏,會說:「(God) Bless You」 ?
撰文者: Wayne 發表日期: September 3, 2009 – 9:24 am

版主前幾天到親戚家作客,席間有人問道:看電影時偶爾會看到老美對剛打噴嚏的人說 “God bless you”,為何會有這種說法?

這個問題讓版主憶起美國求學時,有次打了個小噴嚏,遠在天邊的美國老師老師脫口便說 “Bless you”。當時只覺得有趣,果真跟台灣傳聞的一樣,打噴嚏時別人還真的會冒出這句話。後來,版主到波士頓上班,同事也會脫口說出這句話,反應之快,可謂迅雷不及掩耳。版主覺得,老美因為從小耳濡目染,說這句話早已是反射動作。

“Wikipedia” 列出下列的解釋:

Bless you, or God bless you, is a common English expression addressed to a person after he or she sneezes. The origin of the custom and its original purpose are unknown. In current practice, it is a socially recommended response.

有此觀之,這句話乃是常用說法。以後如果見到老美打噴嚏,說 “Bless you” 這句話應該是合宜的。只是,這句話的來源為何,各方說法不一,版主只針對常見版本,列舉如下:

打噴嚏時,聖靈會暫時離開身體,為了避免撒旦或鬼魂的侵襲,要說 “Bless you (上帝保佑)” 來保護剛打完噴嚏的人。 
People used to believe that your holy spirit leaves you when you sneeze, and sneezing opened your body to invasion by the Devil or evil spirits, or that sneezing is your body’s effort to force out an invading evil spirit. Thus, “bless you” or “God bless you” is used as a sort of shield against evil.

公元 590 年,教宗格雷葛里看見傳染病侵襲羅馬,他便命令教眾鎮日在街頭禱告或唱聖歌。當時人們認為傳染病是透過飛沫傳染,教宗因此規定,如果有人打噴嚏,要對他說 “Bless you (上帝保佑)”。 
Gregory I became Pope in 590 as an outbreak of the bubonic plague was reaching Rome. In hopes of fighting off the disease, he ordered unending prayer and parades of chanters through the streets. At the time, sneezing was thought to be an early symptom of the plague. The blessing (“God bless you!”) became a common effort to halt the disease.





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