Blessing a Baby After Sneezing

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Jordanian
Age: 35
Occupation: Project Manager
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 17 April 2019
Primary Language: Arabic
Other Language(s): English

Background Info/Context:

Religion plays a large part in Jordanian culture, and Jordanians express it in many different ways. My boss told me about a practice that Jordanians do to their babies to maximize their blessings. She grew up giving babies the sign of the cross on them when they sneezed.

 

Piece:

Rehab – “If a baby yawns, you’re supposed to do the, um, cross symbol on them to bless them when they sneeze or when they yawn. I think it’s more when they’re sneezing rather than yawning if I remember correctly.”

 

Sophia – “Do you think this a Jordanian thing? Because I’ve never heard that.”

 

R – “It’s probably a Jordanian religious thing, I don’t know. A lot of things have to do with God or what they think is religious.”

 

Thoughts:

My boss later shared that giving someone the sign of the cross when they sneeze is not something that continues into adulthood. This is mostly a practice that is done on an infant, to ensure that they are blessed by God. I think adults do this for babies, because babies aren’t able to pray to God themselves, so doing the sign of the cross on them connects them to God even before they’re able to speak.