What is a sneeze
A sneeze it is a sudden, involuntary and irrepressible expulsion of air, through the nose and mouth, whose cause is the irritation of the nasal mucosa, causing a strong inspiration of air that will pass to the lungs and from which it will be excreted to the outside .
When the air is released through the mouth, it does so in a violent and noisy way at a speed of up to 160 Km / hour.
Actually, sneezing is a Defense mechanism of the respiratory system to be able to eliminate any irritating substance such as dust, pollen, etc.
In the act of sneezing are involved a high variety of muscles that work together and in the right order, such as:
- Abdominal muscles.
- Muscles of the chest (the diaphragm).
- Muscles that control the vocal cords.
- Muscles of the back of the throat.
- Muscles of the eyelids (it is very difficult to sneeze with the eyes open).
Why do we say Jesus when we sneeze?
When we sneeze, we have the habit of saying words or phrases that we do not know why, but even so, we keep mentioning them. The reasons must be sought a long time ago, in different civilizations where, in each of them, superstitions existed.
These expressions after each sneeze date back to Roman times: Roman Catholics thought that when a healthy person emitted a sneeze, it was a sign that the body was trying to expel evil spirits from future diseases, so immediately after sneezing , they said all kinds of phrases that invoked happiness, such as "congratulations", "congratulations" ...
But this custom was lost from the year 590, during the reign of Pope Gregory I (540-604). In this period of time plague appeared in Europe, where the sick sneezed quite often. To combat the disease, the Pope ordered to pray constantly Christian prayers invoking Jesus Christ or the virgin, so whenever someone heard the sound of a sneeze should be immediately blessed to prevent the development of the plague. This is how the custom begins that "Jesus" or "health" is still being said when you hear a sneeze. Something that also happens in other languages, such as "bless you" or "God bless you", in English.
A story relates that the Athenian general Xenophon, in the year 400 a. C., intoned a tragic speech inciting his soldiers to accompany him to freedom or death against the Persians. After speaking for an hour, one of his soldiers sneezed, understood as a favorable signal from the gods, thus making Xenophon general, following all his orders.
Between the Egyptians and the Greeks a sneeze was an omen. When it was produced in the afternoon, it was good, whereas if it was sneezed, getting out of bed or table could have negative consequences. If a newborn did it, he considered himself happy.
In Japan, the fact of sneezing twice in a row is a sign that someone is talking about you.