"God Bless You" Sneeze Response: A Pope, A Plague, And A Proclamation

1950s woman preparing for a sneeze. (Photo by Debrocke/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

With the common cold, the flu, coronavirus, and goodness knows what else running rampant right now, sneezes are on the rise. As a result, proper old ladies can hardly keep up with the demand for them to say "God bless you," but have you ever wondered why they do it? It seems like an odd thing to say in response to a common bodily function, but there is a sound reason for saying "God bless you" when someone sneezes. It all has to do with a pope, the Plague, and an edict made on this day, February 16, in the year 600.