Windy mistake |

Windy mistake

If you grew up, as I did, in Southern California during the first half of the 20th century, you were well acquainted with santanas – the hot dry winds that blew down the canyons of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Sometime in mid-century a reporter, new to the area (and with a hearing problem?) mistook “santana” for “Santa Ana,” and, presto chango, the santanas became Santa Anas.

I cringe every time I hear the misnomer. The mistake is understandable, considering the proximity of the city and canyon of this name, and the enormous influx of people unacquainted with California history and the beautiful Spanish place names so prevalent in the area.

“Santana” is the Spanish word for “devil,” and the early settlers called the winds “devil winds.” How the extra “n” crept in is unclear. Actually, these winds occur throughout the length of the state, being called a variety of names. In Northern California they are called “Diablo” – certainly more accurate than Santa Anas. Ugh.

Marian Jobe

Grass Valley

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more