Friday, December 01, 2006

Why Do People Kiss Their Thumb After Making the Sign of the Cross?

"hmm" asked the following question in the Q&A board at Phatmass:
Why do people kiss their thumbs after making the sign of the cross? I've always wondered that! Thanks!
Well, after the sign of the cross, some people make a cross with their thumb and index finger--your thumb is the vertical bar placed over your index finger, which is the horizontal bar--and then kiss this cross. In so doing, you are not just kissing your thumb, your are symbolically kissing the cross of Jesus. It is a sign of love and respect for what Jesus did to save mankind, just like the sign of the cross that the person has just performed.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, ok. I've actually been wondering that too but felt kinda silly asking someone. As a convert, I've still got a lot to learn! Thanks for posting that!

God bless+
Becky

phatcatholic said...

Happy to be of service, Becky!

dUSt said...

This can also be looked at as a symbolic imitation of what is done after praying the rosary, when one kisses the crucifix. :)

Faith said...

I've also seen making the sign of the cross with three fingers (thumb and the first two), then kissing this representation of the trinity, especially if the thumb is crossing the fingers.

phatcatholic said...

you two are right. thanks for the input!

PBXVI said...

Thanks soooo much! I have been wondering that for over 5 years now!

phatcatholic said...

np bro ;)

Anonymous said...

I've also been told that it was something that started a long time ago as an underground sign I guess you could say. That during the times of persecution, it was a common thing to make the sign of the cross when passing someone, as a blessing. Well, the persecutors caught on to this so to catch the Catholics they would start making the sign first, and see who makes it back. The Catholics then developed the sign of kissing the thumb which is to make a cross with the first finger. That way, if the person who makes the first sign of the cross doesn't kiss their thumb, they know the person is fake and trying to catch them.

I don't know how much truth there is to this. I haven't had time to research it. But I do know its very common in the Latin cultures.

God bless everyone!

Richard said...

Being a cradle Catholic probably longer than most I must say that kissing your thumb is more a recent phenomena rather than any tradition ever taught by the Church fathers. I suspect it was begun by imitators who would witness devout Catholics kissing the crucifix after saying the rosary. Everything else posted here regarding this practice is either superstition or speculation.

phatcatholic said...

There is surely nothing wrong with the practice, regardless of its antiquity.

Anonymous said...

I agree with phatcatholic, nothing wrong with the practice. I've done it for as long as i can remember. I just did it out of tradition. I'm 42, and cant remember being thought that. If you feel weird or funny kissing your thumb after praying, maybe you should pray a little harder! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Made popular by people mimicking that which is seen at the cinema.

However, that said, if it makes you happy then do it, that which precedes the kiss is what's truly important.

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