A blessing, (also used to refer to bestowing of such) is the infusion of something with holiness, divine will, or one's hopes.
Within Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism and similar traditions, formal blessings of the church are performed by bishops, priests, and sometimes deacons, but as in many other religions, anyone may formally bless another.
A curse, at least in its most formal sense, is the opposite of a blessing. Compare charm.
In the Christian holy book, the Bible, blessings and curses are related; the book of Deuteronomy prescribes that obedience to the Torah brings God's blessing, while disobedience brings a curse. The Priestly Blessing is set forth at Numbers 6:24-26:
This formula has been introduced into Christian worship as well. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus pronounces blessings on the poor, the humble, and the persecuted in the Beatitudes at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.
One of the first incidences of blessing in the Bible is in Genesis 12, where Abram is ordered by the Lord to leave his country and told:
`I will bless you, I will make your name great.` (v 1-2)
Blessing can also be a request for permission, as in "gaining your parents' blessing" would consist of having been granted consent. Clergy will normally receive a blessing from their ecclesiastical superiors to begin their ministry. In the Russian Orthodox Church pious laymen would go to a starets (elder) to receive his or her blessing before embarking upon any important work or making a major decision in their life1.
In Spanish, there is a blessing which can be used as a tender farewell, especially from a parent: Vaya con Dios (Go with God), also Adios (A Dios, to God), French Adieu.
Blessing is also a term used for marriage in the Unification Church.
Blessing is the collective noun for a group of Unicorns.
To bless (from Anglo-Saxon blēdsian or blētsian, Common Germanic blōdisōjan) originally meant "to sprinkle with blood" during the pagan sacrifices called "Blót" (reference: AHD).
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