Saying “Bless You” Can Save One’s Soul

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexico
Age: 68
Occupation: housewife
Residence: Guadalajara, MX
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/09/14
Primary Language: Spanish
Other Language(s):

Saying “Bless You” Can Save One’s Soul

“Se acostumbra decir salud a alguien que destornuda por obediencia pero hora en dia, no mucha gente se sabe el verdadero significado. En realidad se le tiene que decir ala gente que esta destornudando, ‘Jesus le ayude” porque cuando alguien esta destornudando es porque el cuerpo se quiere desaser de un espiritu maligno… esta historia era muy comun cuando yo era nina. Mucha gente creia en todo esto porque eran tiempos en donde existia mucho la maldad, la brujeria y las brujas… yo no se a quien escuche diciendo esta frase por primera vez, alomejor porque era algo que alguien cresia escuchando… al parecer, ahora no hay tanta brujeria como antes, pore so talvez mucha gente ya no dise la frase como debe decirla. Pero yo la sigo diciendo, y la voy a seguir diciendo.”

“It is custom to tell someone bless you when they are sneezing as a sign of friendliness but now a days, not a lot of people know the real meaning of it. In reality, one has to say to the people sneezing, “may Jesus help you” because when someone is sneezing, the body is trying to get rid of a bad spirit from within… this was a very common story when I was a little girl. A lot of people believed in all of this because they were times where a lot of evilness existed, witchcraft and witches… I don’t know who I first heard using this phrase, maybe because it was something that one just grew up hearing… from the looks of it, now there isn’t as much witchcraft as there was before, maybe that’s why a lot of people now don’t say the phrase as it’s supposed to be said. But I still say it that ways and will continue to say I that way.

My informant is a Mexican native of 68 years. She was born and raised there and continues to reside there. In her times, life was much simpler; there were no schools so anything she had to know was taught by people around her. Even though her stories may not seem plausible, they are the kind of stories she grew up listening to so she will hold her faith to their truthfulness with no hesitation. She now continues to pass on the stories she know to her children and grandchildren.

This specific story was fascinating to hear because even though it may seem like one specific type of folk tale, it ends up incorporating several other folk themes. This story incorporates a sort of cure for evil spirits, as well as incorporating witchcraft and witch concepts. Witches are not scientifically proven to be real so therefore one can infer that this story may be a fallacy, however, just because it has not yet been scientifically proven doesn’t mean it’s false. Furthermore, the fact that my informant believes this story to be completely true, can only serve as point in favor to considering the truthfulness of this story. I however personally don’t believe it’s entirely a true story, but it is fascinating to see the kind of mythical identities that were incorporated into this story which tie in to the time of when this story originated.