Talk:Santana wind

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I grew in Sothern California. I was born in Ventura in the beginning of the 1950's. My family has been here for Three generations. The official name of the warm winds out of the east is Santana. The name has been slowly transformed or corrupted over the years.

Moved from WT:RFV[edit]


The hot easterly wind is properly and historically called: SANTANA, not Santa Ana! Sailors have a phrase, "Beware the devil wind Santana." Refer to Two Years Before The Mast, published in 1840, by Richard Henry Dana Jr., He was here. Dana Point is named after him.

When he was anchored of San Pedro, Mister Dana even refers to a "Santana Rig" where an anchor is connected to a buoy, and the ship then ties up to the buoy. Then, when they see "The devil wind Santana" indicated by dust blowing in from the east, they can cut the line between the buoy and head out to the safety of the sea. Later, when the wind subsides, they can return and retrieve their valuable anchor, chain and line.

I believe Mister Dana over a NOAA rep that asked the name of the wind and misunderstood SANTANA as Santa Ana because he thought the name came from the pueblo to the east. -- 23:33, 4 April 2015 (UTC) A So Cal Sailor since 1965 23:33, 4 April 2015 (UTC)


Any takers? (Formatting is bad) SemperBlotto 08:16, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

I have never heard this wind called the Santana winds, only Santa Ana winds (as Wikipedia also has it). To Californians, 'Santana is a Latino guitar player. A google search for "Santana wind" turns up many pages claiming Santana wind is the original "correct" form, but all based on a dubious-looking "Indian" etymology. I find no actual support for it, nor any indication of what the original "Indian" word is supposed to have been. --EncycloPetey 01:00, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes that's what I thought (I must unearth my copy of "Abraxas") - Deleted. SemperBlotto 08:19, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Ditto. I used to live in LA. However, there does seem to be a persistent notion that they "really used to be" the Santana winds but the Church co-opted the name. Finding evidence for the notion shouldn't be hard, but we need cites for the usage -dmh 22:20, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
In the areas I lived in, we called the desert winds the "Santa Ana winds" or even "Santa banana" but never Santana. This has the air of an unattested hoax. (Actually, Santa banana usually referred to tropical winds coming from the South Pacific, bringing a large swell for some excellent surfing.

Hmmm. That might've been the Santa pineapple winds.) --Connel MacKenzie 03:39, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Meanwhile, back at CFI ... does anyone want to guess how many b.g.c hits this gets. Hint: it's more than 3. My question now is, which is the original and which is the re-analysis? Page 170 here has the version I heard when I was there. -dmh 06:25, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

OK, I've put in Santana wind and Santa Ana wind, with cites. Santa Ana wind has a few more b.g.c hits. It also may be preferred in technical writing (but both are seen). There is a lot more to be dug up.

First, Santa Ana can be used by itself. Ask any long-time Angeleno what a "Santa Ana" is and they'll know exactly what you're talking about. I'm not sure if Santana can be used that way (especially with Carlos around). Likewise for Santa Anas, the Santa Anas, Santanas, the Santanas etc. I'm confident the first two are attested, not so much for the second two.

Then there's the matter of etymology. I've included the pet theories, but marked the etymology "disputed" in both entries. I don't know if this is kosher Wiktionary, but if not we can fix it. I have to say that "Santa Ana" seems much more likely to me, especially since "Santana" is an obvious contraction of it and Santa Ana itself was one of the earliest Spanish settlements. On the other hand, the vientos de Sanatanas story is hard to rule out entirely. It appears that "Sanatanas" does mean "Satan" in Spanish, and it wouldn't be the first case of colonists literally translating local words. I have to say it smells a bit fishy to me, as it requires two translations (whatever local language to Spanish, then Spanish to English), while the other explanation just requires a name known to be in use for centuries.

The only real way to settle this, though, is to go down to the LA public library, or UCLA, or the Huntington or whatever and sift through the archives. If anyone knows a secondary source that has clearly done this grunt work — the ones I've seen clearly haven't — that would be a most welcome addition. - -dmh 19:58, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Many/most of which fail the use/mention criteria, or use it in quotation marks, etc. Looks like the oldest of them was someone writing a fluff piece for a free "community" newspaper. Great. Did you try your comparative analysis on this? That is, you seem to be convincing me that "Santana" is some kind of weird hoax, where I had only suspected that, initially. --Connel MacKenzie 20:05, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm leaning towards "urban myth". While I did run across "Sanatanas" for "Satan" on the web (perhaps used for mystical purposes because it's a palindrome? Stranger things have happened), but I think the more standard name is "Satanàs". This makes "Santana" unlikely, as they're stressed differently. It's common for vowels to get dropped. It's not so common for emphasis to shift, and there's a very plausible, mundane alternate explanation available. -dmh 20:23, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
The problem is many of you are too young to remember. Dr. George Fischbeck was one of the first and most popular weathermen around Southern California in the 1970s. He used "Santana Winds" widely and this indeed was based on the vientos de Satanas, or devil's breath. This devilish wind blows off the desert (the home of the devil in Southern California lore) towards the ocean. When I grew up I never heard the term "Santa Ana winds" until Orange County experienced booming growth, and the Santa Ana train station was the depot for Orange County. Perspectoff 16:06, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
The oldest newspaper mentions (early 20th century) have it "Santa Ana winds". One can find "Sant' Ana" and "Sant'Ana" winds in a few books. Merriam Websters 3rd Unabridged and Random House Dictionary favor contraction as the origin of the Santana spelling. Evidence about the pattern of Spanish language contractions or elisions lies in the name of a certain Spanish settlement a short distance south of Los Angeles: San Diego The name Spanish name Diego is apparently derived from Santiago < Santa Iago < Sanctus Jacobus (Saint James). The devil etymology seems quite spurious, a folk etymology, something we humans invent to liven up the unvarnished, but uncertain truth. 17:09, 13 October 2008 (UTC) DCDuring TALK 17:11, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Other fun facts:

  • "viento/vientos de Satanàs" one web hit (unrelated), no b.g.c hits.
  • "vientos de Sanatanas": two b.g.c hits, both articles claiming this derivation of "Santana winds". No web hits.
  • "sanatanas": Nothing in Gutenberg except a translation of the Mahabarat.
  • "Satanas" appears in 103 books. I didn't slice this finer, but "viento(s) de Satanas" does not appear.

I would say the "Devil's wind" etymology is looking quite weak. It looks much more like a re-analysis by Angelenos with just enough Spanish to be dangerous. Or it could have just been made up out of whole cloth. -dmh 20:35, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Presumably you've both noted that b.g.c. advanced search has two cites for Santa Ana wind in 1884, and two more before 1900 (I haven't checked them for appropriateness) while the earliest for Santana wind is 1958. --Enginear 14:31, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Well done! I hadn't gotten around to trying that. I'd say that's another nail in the coffin. -dmh 16:02, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Conversely "viento(s) de Santa Ana" gets about 800 hits (between the two forms), while "viento(s) de Santana" gets more like 100. -dmh 16:34, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Living in Westminster, California as a child in the 1950's we always called the hot winds from the east "Santana winds". Only much later did it start being called Santa Ana winds because it came from that diection of Santa Ana. We would run to shut the windows because all the dirt/sand would fly, sometimes so much so you couldn't see across the street.------------

I think "Santana" is the correct term for the winds. My family moved to San Bernardino, CA in the mid-1950's. At that time, the winds were always called "Santanas" by the locals there. This, of course, was long before Carlos Santana became famous, so there was no name recognition or association with him at the time. Also, there would have been no reason for us to call them "Santa Ana" winds. In San Bernardino, a wind from Santa Ana would have come from a southerly direction, while the Santanas blew down from the mountains to the north and east. Then in the late 1960's, I moved down to Orange County and was extremely surprised to find that folks were calling the same winds "Santa Anas." I assumed it was because the city of Santa Ana is in Orange County and the locals had confused the correct "Santana" with their local city. I tried to correct them on several occasions; an effort that was met with some derision! One of the basic reasons I am writing this is that just today, I had a conversation with an older (late 60's) married couple who are native Californians, born and raised. Both of them hail from the Rancho Cucamonga area, which lies at the base of the mountains, just like San Bernardino. They confirmed that they had always referred to the winds as Santanas throughout their youth - and they still do. I wonder if the fact that Carlos became famous made people shy away from calling the winds by his last name, using the more neutral term "Santa Ana" instead? In any case, to me, they were, are, and always will be the dreaded Santanas!

When I arrived in Los Angeles in 1953, the winds were commonly referred to as Santana winds. Humphrey Bogart named his sailboat after the winds, The Santana. I recall that the radio weather announcers called them Santana winds, but then a gradual change began to take place and Santa Ana winds became more and more in use. At first I laughed at the ignorance of the announcers who used Santa Ana in place of the correct Santana, but by the 60's it seems that Santana had been swept into history. If there are any extant 1950's era (or earlier) radio broadcasts with weather news, they would provide good evidence and a good start to going back to what was a more meaningful and accurate word for the Devil Winds.

I, too, always heard them referred to as a "santana" of the "santanas". I was born in Eagle Rock in 1952; my father moved there in 1923. He always said the term was "santana" (and that newcomers who thought it was "Santa Ana" were wrong). I, too, seem to recall that it was radio and TV weathermen (few of whom were probably born in L.A.) using the term "Santa Ana" (which usage would have prompted my father's corrective response of such ignorance). The plain facts are that (1) the TV and radio had a larger audience than my father or (other oldtimers) and (b) newcomers unaware of the term "santana" kept pouring in to the area. Think about it: the Santa Ana Canyon spills out into Anaheim, Garden Grove and Westminster--areas sparsely populated when the wind was named. [In 1900 the city of Los Angeles already had a population of over 100,000 people; Paadena nearly 10,000; while Anaheim's population then was less than 1,500]. The same winds whip into and affect Los Angeles and Pasadena through the San Gabriel Valley just as powerfully as they affect Anaheim and westward of Anaheim. So "why" would Angelenos have named the wind "Santa Ana" and "who" was in the Anaheim (and westward) area to have coined a name for the wind? If the name goes back to the Spanish settlement, why, again would the phenomenon been specially associated with Santa Ana Canyon?

My father moved to Southern California in the 1940s, by then he was an experienced off-shore yachtsman. I remember him and his sailor friends refering to the winds as Santanas. He and the other old time sailors never adopted the term 'Santa Anas' for the winds, even though most of the rest of the culture did.


I'm an old guy 80plus; Sanatanas -- hot wind off the desert. "Santa Ana wind" is a dumbing down of the old pronunciation!

I went to college in Pasadena from Sept. 1956 thru June 1961. I was already well-traveled in the USA, and also a nature nut, and also was always watching the weather (not that there WAS that much most of the time in So. Calif.). I clearly recall that when the desert winds appeared in the fall and fanned the wildfires, those winds were nearly universally referred to as "Santanas" or "Santana winds". I virtually never watched TV in those days and have no knowledge of that referenced TV weatherman, so all of my learning of the local weather lore must have been from the upperclassmen or the science faculty at my school. The etymology was explained as deriving from a Spanish term for "Satan", e.g. “devil winds”.. Even then there were occasional references to "Santa Ana winds", but nearly universally those were immediately jumped on by "those in the know" as an "ignorant newcomer usage". It would sometimes be speculated that since "santana" was a common colloquial pronunciation for that town in Orange County maybe that was the source of the confusion. But it would then be further explained this would be a ridiculous basis for naming these desert winds inasmuch as winds are always named for the direction winds come FROM rather than go TO! So while people in Newport or Laguna Beach MIGHT have a basis for calling winds from the Santa Ana Mountains or Santa Ana Canyon "Santa Ana winds", those Orange County locations didn't usually get those hot, dry winds until several hours after they'd already been blowing like hell through Cajon Pass and down at the bottoms of canyons in the San Gabriels and the San Bernardino Mountains! So "Santa Ana winds" just couldn't be the right name across the whole region, and even in the 1950's most astute observers KNEW it! Apparently we lose knowledge. Too many newcomers in the last half of the 20th century, and limited geographic knowledge of the “Southland”! It's “Santana winds” guys! Get it right! --dws 13 Oct 2008

I was born in Santa Monica, CA in 1951. Growing up in Santa Monica and Venice, the winds were known to me as Santanas. Evidence that this name is older than the fame of Carlos Santana is the introduction, by the W. D. Shock Co. (an Orange County boat builder), of the Santana 22 in 1965. The first album release by Santana was not until 1970. I had heard the reference to "devil winds", but I find nothing to support it. I have seen that Santana is a contraction of Santa Ana. This would imply both are correct, but, it seems to me, Santana came into less use after the fame of the music group. That someone has "never heard" or that it is difficult to find it on the web would be attributed, in my view, to the newness of the web and perhaps the youth of the one who has "never heard." mph 10-15-08

I was born in Upland, CA in 1954 and lived in Ontario, CA until 1970. Our family had lived in the Ontario area since 1936. We always called them Santanas. Never heard them called Santa Ana until some years later. dwb Aug 27 2010

Searching Google Books, I found the following reference to the intentional name change of "Viento de Santanas" to "Santa Ana Winds" for Christian property marketing purposes, via a local Chamber of Commerce. --Mespinola 00:07, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Traveling Music: Playing Back the Soundtrack to My Life and Times, By Neil Peart This text has been moved to its own section below.

I too grew up in Torrance and Palos Verdes, I was born in 1950 in Los Angeles, the Santana winds were called just that, seems older generations know this, very commonly known in the 1950's and 1960's and from what I see posted. In the 1970's I began hearing Santa Ana or Santa Ana's. I feverishly try to explain to people it was a corruption of the term Santana. In the early 1970's I opened a dictionary and there it was listed under Santana; definition in this dictionary was: a hot devil wind from the desert. Still it has grown to be accepted as Santa Ana or Santa Ana's. I just wish it was at least better known that the older generations knew them as Santana's not having anything to do with Carlos or the area of Santa Ana. One of my friends named their horse Santana.

Many includable terms in use, simple etymology[edit]

The research that we have done shows that all of the following terms are used, both upper and lower case, singular and plural, Santa Ana wind, Santa Ana, Santana wind, Santana, all of which would seem to be in sufficient usage to warrant inclusion. The oldest usage that we can find recorded is "Santa Ana wind". The contraction of "Santa Ana" to "santana" is the only etymology provided by any authoritative dictionary. In Spanish the term "satanatas" does not seem to be proper Spanish for "satan's" and is not very common in Spanish sources. The spelling "satanas" does not really fit the pronunciation "santana". Finally, the "devil's wind" etymology has all the earmarks of a folk etymology: more colorful than the alternatives, linguistically implausible, religious/mythical associations. DCDuring TALK 11:46, 14 October 2008 (UTC)


Random House and MW3 (print}, the only two that have Santana or Santana wind, both favor the contraction etymology. To me this seems settled, not really disputable. The only authoritative sources that have spoken on the subject come to a conclusion that seems to fit the data I can find and a linguistically simple, unromantic conclusion. OTOH, Santana wind and probably santana/Santana seem fairly common usage and should remain or be added. DCDuring TALK 20:35, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Tea room discussion[edit]

Note: the below discussion was moved from the Wiktionary:Tea room.

The Santa Ana mountians lie east of the southern California LA basin. Most of the year the prevailing winds in Southern California are from the west. Winds that emanate over the ocean bring a cooling effect to the area but bring with them the negative effect of keeping the smog "locked" in the basin. Occasionally high pressure systems center to the east of the area causing the winds to reverse their normal pattern. The winds then blow from the east (the hotter desert area)over the Santa Ana Mountains, through the basin and out to sea. The result is clean, hot,dry windy conditions known as "The Santa Anas". This brings in hot weather and clean air and results in high fire danger in many areas. --Tclavey 08:30, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

In the Etymology section of this entry is a purported Spanish term "vientos de Sanatanas", for which the translation "Satan's winds" has been given. Spanish is not a language of mine, but cursory search suggests that "Satanas" would be the word. The spelling gets to the plausibility of Santana wind vs. Santa Ana wind. "Sant' Ana" is my favorite etymology, based on not much. DCDuring TALK 23:43, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

  • "Santana" is a common Spanish abbrev. of Santa Ana, and I'm sure that's the source of this term. I think the Spanish given here is probably just a mistake, since the Spanish Wikipedia article calls the phenomenon Vientos de Santa Ana. Ƿidsiþ 11:34, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Random House and MW3 (print}, the only two that have Santana or Santana wind, both favor the contraction etymology. To me this seems settled, not really disputable. The only authoritative sources that have spoken on the subject come to a conclusion that seems to fit the data I can find and a linguistically simple, unromantic conclusion. OTOH, Santana wind and probably santana/Santana seem fairly common usage and should remain or be added. DCDuring TALK 20:34, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I just realized that another entry I looked seemed to illustrate a somewhat similar phenomenon: San Diego < "Santa Iago". I want to tread carefully because evidently folks in Southern California get very excited about this. The first thing is to get the "satanic winds" etymology handled appropriately. The earliest News cites call it the "Santa Ana wind", but date only back to the early 20th century. I (or the entries) could use a little help from someone with some Spanish. DCDuring TALK 14:27, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

I was born in Los Angeles and spent most of my adult life in Northern Orange County. Yorba Linda, in and before the 1950's, was heavily involved in the production of oranges, lemons, and avocados. We referred to the winds as "Santanas". Santa Ana canyon was close by, but that wasn't the reason for the name. This name was due to the fact, in spite of wind breaks from eucalyptus trees, was due to the crop loss and damage leading to loss of income. The attention was given to the negative outcomes and closely related to devil winds. A 70 year old native son of the golden west

"Viento de Santanas" citation found via Google Books[edit]

Searching Google Books, I found the following reference to the intentional name change of "Viento de Santanas" to "Santa Ana Winds" for Christian property marketing purposes via a local Chamber of Commerce. If no one objects (I'll wait a week or two for discussions, etc), I'll add the reference to the article. --Mespinola 00:22, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

I moved to Anaheim in 1965. At that time all the television weathermen referred to them as Santana winds. I referred to them as Santa Ana's I guess making an association with the city of Santa Ana. I was continually corrected by native Californians that they were Santanas. One day in the local coffee shop while I was having breakfast, an old orange grower that had been born and raised here called them Santanas. I asked him what the correct pronunciation was. This was his explanation: They are the Santana winds, having nothing to do with the Saint reference, in fact, Santana winds, means "devil winds" because they are devilishly hot.

Based on the totality of the picture this is how I see it. I do believe Santana was the correct name for them, based on what the old grower told me, and the fact that the old weathermen used the same term. Because the area experienced extreme growth beginning in the 50's, it's very likely, the uneducated masses flowing in, including the new weathermen who were most likely from out of the area also, they all made the mis-association with the city as well and began using the incorrect, or at least less correct term Santa Ana winds and because the growth then was so rapid...the new incorrect pronunciation ended up dominating.