Customs
Folk Beliefs
general

Folk Belief – Ireland

“In Ireland, when you sneeze, someone’s supposed to say “Dia linn” – literally “God be with us”, fairly standard stuff. But if you sneeze more than once, you have to follow up with a whole load of saints. Usually it goes “Dia lin – Dia ‘s Muire linn – ‘s Padraig, ‘s Seamus, ‘s Brid… (Mary, Patrick, James, Bridget)” and then you need to start getting creative. I am prone to sneezing fits, and have occasionally caused my mother to run out of saints.”

This tradition not only reflects the strong Christian tradition present in Ireland, but shares similarities with the English “God bless you!” and the German “Gesundheit!” (literally “healthy-hood” [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gesundheit] or, less literally “To your health!”
All three reflect general well-wishes toward the individual as he or she experience the minor trauma that is a sneeze, as well as the hope that nothing more serious than a sneeze is approaching.

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