Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Who is calling you when you sneeze?

Interesting similarities in sneeze-related superstitions from Oceania, Africa and Europe:

Country: Solomon Islands
If you sneeze, someone is speaking badly of you, cursing you, or bidding his personal ghost to eat you.

What to do after sneezing: Summon your own personal ghost to counter-attack the person who cursed you.1
Country: Nigeria
If you sneeze, someone is calling for you, possibly with evil intent.

What to do after sneezing: Tell the sneeze that you are not the only person with your name, in the hope that the sneeze will move on to look for its real target - another individual who has the same name.2
Country: Greece
If you sneeze, someone is talking about you, possibly someone who has cursed you by casting an evil eye on you.

What to do after sneezing: Spit thrice down your chest to ward off the effects of the evil eye. There are also ways to determine the identity of the person who was speaking of you.3

The Japanese also have superstitions about sneezing, but without any recommendation for follow-up action.

  1. Cora Linn Daniels, C. M. Stevans, "Sneezing", Encyclopedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World. Google Books. Web. 12 July 2015
  2. Buchi Offodile, The Orphan Girl and Other Stories: West African Folk Tales, p3
  3. Greek Spider -Your Guide to Greece and Cyprus, Greek Superstition: Sneezing

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