Tag Archives: wind

Belief: Whistle for Wind


“My mom did this thing where…” They took a pause. “So, she’s not very good at whistling– along with a lot of other people in my family for some reason. But she can still somewhat whistle, and there’s this notion that whistling calls wind. So you would whistle in order to call wind. It’s like a folk thing because apparently this isn’t something that only my mom does. It’s something that my aunts and grandma and a lot of people in my family do. If you want wind, you whistle.”


“I sure do whistle a lot.” They laughed. “Just cause I like whistling… and it sure doesn’t work– as in, it sure isn’t constantly windy.” They pouted, jokingly, “It doesn’t always work. It’s not always windy and I whistle always.”

“It was just my mom. I was whistling one day and she was like ‘You know it calls wind.’ And then she tried to whistle. It wasn’t a very great whistle and it didn’t call wind.” They laughed. “I think I was very young. I was nine or ten when we had this conversation and it was a couple years after that when we went to the Philippines and I inquired other family members about it.”

“It’s interesting to think about why– because in the Philippines wind comes in handy. ‘Cause, you know, it’s hot, and wind feels really nice especially, I assume if you’re working and doing manual labor related to farming and animals and crops. I can see where it comes from.”


There’s a certain magical quality to air and wind, like blowing candles to make a wish. Similarly, music, singing, and by proxy, whistling is a traditional performance that is believed to have a variety of effects. In the case of whistling, it’s a musical act that bares a resemblance to blowing air. The cooling effect of both blowing air and wind is linked together as a way to make one manageable by human means. There’s an inherent desire to control the workings of the world which is what paves the way for rituals that attempt to do so. In this case, specific to locations that are hot, the presence of wind is a comfort that people wish for.

Proverb – Irish

The informant learned the following proverb from his father:

“Most wind happens around the trees.”

According to him, the proverb refers to the tendency of people to gossip when they gather in small groups. It is generally performed when the speaker wants to warn the listener not to talk too much, such as when the listener is about to leave to socialize with friends. The informant seldom uses the proverb because he disagrees with it—he thinks that there is nothing wrong with a little gossip among friends.

Ireland has very few trees now that its residents have cleared so many to make way for farms, but the nation is very windy regardless, so clearly the proverb is not literal. It seems likely to me that the proverb was brought to Ireland from another nation-state where there are more trees.

Collector’s Information:

Name: Claire Nickerson

Age: 20

Address: 920 W 37th Place #1303A, Los Angeles, CA 90089