Every culture in the world (at least all that I know of) values “Health”, “Money”, and “Love.” If any of you readers out there know of a culture that doesn’t value health, money, or love, I’d love to hear about it.
These three words used together form a very small piece of Latin American culture, but in a way you might not have guessed. These words are said when someone sneezes! If you sneeze once, Latin people say “Health!” If you sneeze a twice, they say “Money!” and a third sneeze in a row brings “Love!”
I have allergies and usually when I sneeze, I sneeze about 6 or 7 times in a row! I usually catch Latin people off-guard because after “Health!”, “Money!” and “Love!” they run out of things to say.
Sometimes people in Latin America will just say “Health!” and forget the rest. However, many are eager to wish you all three: “Health!”, “Money!” and “Love!” when every time you sneeze.
You might think it sounds a little odd to say “Health!” when someone sneezes, but if you think about it, it makes a little more sense than what we say in English — “Bless you!”. In the dictionary, the word “bless” means “to consecrate by religious rite or word”. It’s almost as if we’re trying to bless someone religiously when they sneeze. The Spanish version makes a lot more sense to me; you are wishing someone good “Health” so they can get better and avoid more germ-filled sneezes. So, why do they add “Money” and “Love” to multiple sneezes? I’m not quite sure, but if you wish someone “Health”, you might as well add “Money” and “Love” and offer them a complete package—because who doesn’t want health, money, and love!
Just remember how to say them in Spanish, one sneeze = Health – “Salud” [saw-lood]. Two sneezes = Money – “Dinero” [dee-neh-row]. And, a third sneeze = Love – “Amor ” [Ah-more].
Now for the interesting part for me, I would love to know what people around the world say when someone else sneezes—please comment.
Moral of the Story: This week’s topic is a fun little cultural phrase that people say when someone sneezes. Be daring and try it out the next time you hear a Latin person sneeze!
Sneak peek at next week: “Don’t Waste Your Food – All Parts of the Cow!!?”
¡Hasta luego! (“Until later!”)
David S. Clark — President / Director
Click here to learn Spanish!