When we were in Santorini, our last few days there were made dramatic by what the Greeks call Meltemi winds. One of our friends there told us that it was considered to be a bad omen. Another said it was a blessing. The winds were very strong – so strong we saw ships leave the port, and move to smoother waters. We watched four men struggle with the sunshades at a restaurant. Temperatures dropped, and we had to seek cover.
Before the trip, I’d been vaguely aware of the fact that some cultures had named the wind. We’ve all heard of the zephyr (called Zephyros) the Ancient Greek’s name for the West wind. In one of my trunked books (that will never, ever see the light of day) I have a female character named Zephyr. I might reuse it.
When I’d named one of my characters in Salvaged Mistral, I looked up the word to make sure it wasn’t referring to something that wasn’t in keeping with his character. The Mistral wind is famous in the south of France, the word is a derivative from Maestral a Latin-based derivation to describe a masterful wind. This wind is part of what makes the weather, architecture, and landscape what it is in southern France.
After having experienced the winds that can sweep across the Mediterranean Sea, I did a little more research into the idea of winds with names. I discovered many, many more. It makes sense. People who lived along the Mediterranean relied on it for their livelihoods. They sailed. The wind was a success factor, a hindrance, a navigational tool. Of course they would have names for their winds.
Then I discovered that it wasn’t just the Mediterranean. Check out this list of winds from all over the world.
Are these fantastic character names, or what?