The Everyday Lore Project

4 January 2021 – Sneeze

4 January 2021 – Sneeze

I’ve just sneezed. Twice. According to one children’s rhyme this means I’m courting danger. Except I sneezed to the right, which means I’m also fortunate. But then another rhyme says that sneezing on a Monday means I’ve sneezed for fun. And according to Aristotle, because I sneezed between midday and midnight, I can add lucky to the list. But then because the moon is in Virgo, I should consider myself to be in a ‘parlous state’[1]. Not to mention because nobody said bless you, I’m now at the mercy of witches and fairies. Although, it’s said I have sneezed out the Devil. Twice.

It’s said that Hippocrates believed that sneezing cures the hiccup (except I didn’t have any to cure). And indeed one rhyme says I’ve sneezed for health. While another source quotes that what can be used for magpies, can also be used for sneezing, so I also have joy. Plus two sneezes equals two callers within two hours and/or a letter. But I received neither.

And all because a bit of chilli got up my nose. Unless it was the Devil, walking beside me.

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Header: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Daniels, C.L. & Stevans, C.M (eds) (2003) Encyclopædia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World,Hawaii, University Press of the Pacific

Hazlitt, W.C. (1995) The Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, London, Bracken Books

Rhodes, C. (2001) One For Sorrow… A Book of Old-Fashioned Lore, London, Michael O’Mara Books Limited

Simpson, J. and Roud, S. (2001) Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford, Oxford University Press


Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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