The other day I wrote an entry about the customs around sneezing in different countries. I mentioned the German word Gesundheit, which is said to someone after they’ve sneezed.
I looked up Gesundheit, and found that it’s also said as a “cheers” before drinking with someone. It’s literally “to your health”.
The Gesundheit that’s said after sneezing comes from a longer phrase, Gesundheit ist besser als Krankheit, which means, “Health is better than sickness”. It’s probably rooted in the fear that someone might be sick if they’re sneezing.
All of this talk about sneezing helped me remember what my Italian-speaking grandfather used to say. He’d say, alla salut (it sounded like “ah salut”), meaning “to health”. He’d say Alla salut both after someone sneezed and as a “cheers” before drinking.
So, to all of you … Gesundheit and alla salut!
P.S. Feel free to comment below about what’s said in your country as a cheers, and after someone sneezes.
This article was posted on Wednesday, June 7th, 2006 at 10:06 am and is filed under Cheers!, Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, German, Germany, Gesundheit, Italian, Italy, Languages, Sneezing, Words & Phrases, Yiddish. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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