When somebody sneezes, we say "Gesundheit". Can this word be replaced by "Schönheit" or "Bescheidenheit"?
One of my colleagues has suggested me these words. What do these words mean in this situation?
I agree with what Emanuel said: Both "Bescheidenheit" and "Schönheit" are meant to be funny responses, but they are not.
In this case, "Bescheidenheit" probably is intended to be ironic and refers to that you should not have sneezed as your are attracting attention. "Schönheit" ends with "heit" and therefore has a connection to "Gesundheit", which might be the reason someone came up with the idea of saying it.
By the way: According to Knigge you should ignore sneezing as you would emphasize that someone sneezed. Instead, the person who sneezed should apologize.
However, the Knigge applies to polite society and should not be taken too seriously in my opinion, so just stick to "Gesundheit".
No, you should not.
To say "Schönheit" a lot used in a joking way. You should not use it because people you don't know could interpret it that you mean it mockingly. The full joke runs as follows: "Hatschi!", "Schönheit! Gesund bist du ja.", translates to "Achoo!", "Beauty! Since you are healthy, anyway!" -- only suitable in company that likes bad jokes.
I never heard someone wish "Bescheidenheit!", though, and it probably comes from people who finally got tired of the "Schönheit!"-joke -- and made up one even worse. This would probably translate (badly) to the full joke "Achoo!", "Humbleness! Since you are healthy, anyway."
The words mean what they always mean.
If you say "Gesundheit", you imply, that the person isn't in best health state. If you say "Schönheit" instead, you imply she isn't beautiful, but ugly, and you wish him or her to improve in that field. The same is true with "Bescheidenheit" which is not even common as a joke, in my cultural context.
As you can see, you would only use such greetings with buddies or when you're drunk.
You shouldn't use "Schönheit" instead of "Gesundheit" without first having a feeling for proper context, because the literal meaning (you lack beauty) is insulting and many people feel that the joke gets old.
But I also feel that people here are overstating the judgment on the alternative wishes.
I come from a family with a tendency to multiple sneezing and when people have unwisely decided to say "Gesundheit" after your first sneeze, but the sneeze is immediately followed by five more, it is socially somewhat awkward, because it is neither appropriate to repeat the wish nor appropriate to just say nothing now, and the kind of joking variation are a good way to dispel the tension.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the variations originate from multiple sneezing situations, and following "Gesundheit" with "Schönheit" is on its way to become a meaningless phrase as well.