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Yi Bai Sui (Bless You)

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Guest Anonymous

I was born in Taipei, Taiwan and came to the U.S. when I was 10 years old.

I was taught that when people sneeze, you're supposed to say "yi bai sui" (one hundred years old) and if they sneeze again, you say "liang bai sui"... and so on. I'm not sure where this tradition came from but I'm assuming it's to wish the person who sneeze good health (and to live for hundreds of years). However, to my disappointment, I haven't found another Chinese person who practices this tradition until my trip to Beijing last summer. I was in the subway and this old lady sneezed and before I could say anything, this pretty girl said with her sweet voice "yi bai sui". Obviously my family isn't the only one who practices this tradition.

Has anyone else heard of or practice this tradition?

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roddy

I've heard 'yi bai sui' now and then in Beijing, so it does happen. I'll start counting the ratio of sneezes to 'yi bai sui's.

Roddy

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LFCLOUDS

Mmmmm, should get some interesting stares.

Consider it accuired!

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Quest

that's interesting, my father is cantonese, and when he sneezes he says "lei si" ("li shi" in mandarin) which is the same word for new year red pocket money.

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Guest yezi
I was born in Taipei' date=' Taiwan and came to the U.S. when I was 10 years old.

I was taught that when people sneeze, you're supposed to say "yi bai sui" (one hundred years old) and if they sneeze again, you say "liang bai sui"... and so on. I'm not sure where this tradition came from but I'm assuming it's to wish the person who sneeze good health (and to live for hundreds of years). However, to my disappointment, I haven't found another Chinese person who practices this tradition until my trip to Beijing last summer. I was in the subway and this old lady sneezed and before I could say anything, this pretty girl said with her sweet voice "yi bai sui". Obviously my family isn't the only one who practices this tradition.

Has anyone else heard of or practice this tradition?[/quote']

People in China have various responses to someone who sneeze. It is the first time I've heard about "Yi Bai Sui". What I commonly know are two expressions--Either "You ren xiang ni le-- some one is missing you" or "You ren zai ma ni-- some one is cursing/ swearing at you". I prefer the first one because it is quite sweet. ;-)

There are also some other similar practice. For example, when people ask you: "Ni ganggang erduo yang ma?-- Did your ear itch just now?" they actually mean: "Some one were missing you just now."

If one drops chopsticks to the floor, people will say: "Ni jia you keren ya lai-- Some one will visit you soon".

If you were choked during dinner, they will say:"Ni shuo cuo hua le---You've said something wrong."

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Guest Anonymous
What I commonly know are two expressions--Either "You ren xiang ni le-- some one is missing you" or "You ren zai ma ni-- some one is cursing/ swearing at you". I prefer the first one because it is quite sweet. ;-)

Although interesting, that's kind of different from what I was talking about. :-)

Yi bai sui is used like God bless you in the U.S. It's more of a natural response like when someone says thank you, you say you're welcome.

However, I've also heard Americans say that when you sneeze it means someone's thinking or talking about you. But now I think about it, I heard that mostly from Asian-Americans but also some Caucasian-Americans.

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Jake Perry

[POP=yì bǎi suì]一百岁[/POP]

my girlfriend and i always say

yì bǎi suì... liǎng bǎi suì... sān bǎi suì...

whenever somebody sneezes

her parents always say it too.

she grew up in Běijīng and moved here

with her parents when she was nine.

we live in Canada and her dad

still mostly only speaks mandarin.

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realmayo

First sneeze: someone’s missing you

Second sneeze: someone’s cursing you

Third sneeze: you’ve got a cold

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Lu

I've heard of this saying (from foreigners who learned that that's what Chinese say for Bless you), but I never actually heard a native speaker say it. The most common response to someone sneezing is no response at all.

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AlexBrit

The only Chinese I heard following sneezes were things like '感冒啦', '吃药了没' or maybe even '你衣服穿得太少'

ha ha

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kudra

In 1981, a teacher in my beginning course told us about the 一百岁,两百岁 thing. He said it would be more common to say it to children. I think he was from Taiwan, but his parents were from the Mainland, probably the north, possibly Beijing.

That was the last I ever heard of it, and have never heard it used "in the wild."

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Kong Junrui

I remember that in my Chinese class a few months ago, I sneezed, and a native speaker that sits in front of me said "bai sui," 百岁

Though that's really the only time I've heard a Chinese way of excusing a sneeze.

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Dongpo Jushi

I believe the word "bless you" is somewhat an adaptation from a western tradition.

I once asked my friend about the meaning behind bless you in their tradition.

He pointed out that it came from a time where black plague was common among english people (if he's not mistaken), around that time, sneezing is one of the symptom for the black plague.

"bless you" was a somewhat indicating a hope that the sneezing person wasn't infected with the deadly plague.:roll:

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Jake Perry

when you sneeze your heart stops

so you are dead for just a moment.

if anything deserves a quick blessing

i think that dying should qualify.

i used to say 'Godspeed' as a kid

when i found out what it meant

i started saying 'get home safe'

in chinese you say 'walk slowly'

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葛亞輝(美國人)

i heard 一百岁 from my chinese teachers (who are all from the mainland) when someone asked if there was an equivalent expression to "god bless you" in chinese. They told us that, but I've never heard any of them say it when someone sneezes in class, so I don't think it's very common.

And I thought the english "god bless you" came from believing that sneezing was caused by demons, or something...

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Lugubert
"You ren xiang ni le-- some one is missing you"

I've heard this from a Chinese native (Hangzhou person) - but in Sweden, translated into Swedish, and followed by the explanation that that's what you say in China.

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