Superstitions

Common Superstitions: Mirrors & Why We Say “God Bless You”

Written by Anya Hubbard

Have you ever been told that it is bad to put two mirrors facing each other? Well, in Mexico, it is a superstition that the reflections of two mirrors form a doorway to earth for the devil. In other areas, even a stand-alone mirror with no other mirror facing it is a doorway for evil spirits. Many people blame moving objects in their houses on spirits and devils and people move further in their reasonings to say that these spirits entered their house through mirrors.

The second superstition is based around why it is common to say “God bless you” after someone sneezes. For this superstition, there are actually many different believed origins. One of the origins is from the time of the plagues. The common symptoms of the plague were coughing and sneezing, and it is believed that Pope Gregory I suggested saying “God bless you” after a person sneezes in hopes that this prayer would protect them from otherwise certain death. During similar times, a sneeze was sometimes thought to be the body’s way of trying to rid itself of evil spirits. So, in that case, saying “God bless you” as a way to try to provide protection, or a good luck charm, against the evil spirits leaving or inhabiting the body. The words that we say after a sneeze varies in different languages but all of the words have something to do with our health. This brings us back to the first origin of  “God bless you” is a short prayer that would protect people from death. Several cultures have a similar response to a sneeze. Some may say “Salud,” which is Spanish for “health,” or “Gesundheit,” which is German for “health.” Others include “Slainte” which is Irish Gaelic for “good health” and “Jeebo,” which in Bengali means “stay alive.”

Next week check back for the origins of why a broken mirror is believed to give you bad luck and why the number 13 is unlucky.

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About the author

Anya Hubbard