Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the whole notion of people saying "Bless you" occurred during the Black Death. Since sneezing was somewhat indicative of the patient becoming potentially infected with the plague, back then people would say "Bless You" to expel the 'Devil'. Though, others have also suggested that it originates prior to the Black Death, and in fact, had already existed as a blessing among pagan Greeks.
In any case, nowadays, its developed into one of those kinds of phrases that you say when someone sneezes. Kind of like one of those automated email replies that you set (or don't set) when you're going away.
Well, at least that's what I thought.
I'm not sure whether it's just the fact that I was ignorant when I was younger and conveniently thought that everyone said "Bless You" when someone sneezed when really nobody said anything at or, or that it's just some 'protocol' phrase that seemed cool back in the days, and now isn't.
Personally, I thought that it was just some customary, courteous, polite phrase to say when someone sneezes. Though, apparently, I seem to stand to be corrected, since hardly anyone ever says "Bless You" anymore.
Or is it just that there are different types of situations in which you're allowed/not allowed to say "Bless You"?
I know for one, that saying "Bless You" in an examination centre where they have clearly told you beforehand that "Speaking is strictly forbidden" is not exactly ideal (I haven't actually done this, though really, you could imagine the consequences). Though, what about in class? Since hardly anyone says "Bless You" during class anymore, all that's left after a person sneezes is just one very long awkward silence. Sure, you could say that everyone is just so focused on their work that they don't even notice that a loud, discordant sound has just occurred. But really- the entire class?