The Hiccup of Hiccups

The Hiccup of Hiccups

There are many scientific reasons for these sayings. When I was small whenever I used to sneeze whosoever was near me or elders use to say "god bless you". I was curious about this and asked them why they do so. Me on the other hand say "excuse me" and I got a response "god bless". My parents told me that whenever we sneeze our heart stops for a moment so our elders say "god bless".

First thing first, what exactly is a hiccup?  Well, in reality, hiccups are repetitive and uncontrollable contractions of the diaphragm muscle (the one that separates your lungs from your abdominal cavity and is responsible for regulating your breathing). The diaphragm muscle contracts when we breathe in and relaxes when we breathe out. When the diaphragm contracts out of rhythm, it results in a hiccup. Each spasm of the diaphragm closes our vocal cord suddenly and results in an immediate rush of air to the lungs. Your body reacts with a ‘hic’ sound that most of us are well acquainted with.

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No one knows where this myth has originated from, but the Japanese people have taken it one step further. They believe that sneezing once means someone is gossiping nice about you. Twice means something not as nice. Thrice means gossip that’s really not nice at all. British nurses believed that babies were put under a fairy spell until they sneezed. Nowadays, when kids lose their charm, sweetness, and innocence, we refer to it as “growing up”. Korean people believe that sneezing is just one allergy.  The people of Polynesia treat a child’s sneeze with a very similar mystical significance. A small Maori child’s sneeze could be an omen for the prospects of a tidbit of interesting news or a visit. In Tonga, people believe that the sneeze of a child results in bad fortune for the family. Like this, in every culture they have their own beliefs.

About 1,500 years ago, people used to believe that the soul would leave its body temporarily during a sneeze, leaving behind a temptingly vacant shell for the devil to swoop in and occupy. So, a “God bless you” served to safe guard the sneezer’s soul. These are all traditional myths that does not have any proper reasons.

Why Do People Say Bless You When You Sneeze?

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before. Every time you hiccup, someone somewhere is thinking of you. Hiccups are said to occur due to the lack of water in our body or irritation in the stomach. Whenever I get hiccups my father advises me to drink water and in some of the cases, after drinking water sometimes it really stops! There are many more ways that my parents suggest to alleviate hiccups and it really works. So, now, my question is if somebody is genuinely thinking about us, when we have hiccups, do they forcefully stop thinking when we drink water? Or is it a mere coincidence? I have experimented about this also. Once I asked my brother to stand beside me and think about me. But I didn't have hiccups. Why? If hiccups really meant that someone is thinking about you, then why does the same thing not happen when we know who is thinking about us?

 All these questions have puzzled me for a long time. But, I haven't found their answers yet.