Whistling village of India - A place where children are named with a tone!

This village has taken the statement ‘What’s in a name?’ way too seriously as the whistling village in India does not have regular names but musical notes to refer to the people there.

Divya Chauhan
New Update
Whistling village of India

You may have heard the most unusual names of people till now, but Kongthong – a small village in Meghalaya, will leave you astonished with its way of naming people. What’s up with the names in this village, you may wonder. Kongthong village has the most unique way of naming in the entire world and they have been doing it proudly for ages. The village has people with music tunes as names - the one-of-its-kind whistling village in India.

The whistling village

Kongthong is a small village in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and has a population of around 700 people. All these residents have musical melodies and tunes as their names. When a child is born in the village, the mother creates a unique tune with which the baby can be called. Whatever tune the mother creates, becomes the name of the child. The villagers call each other with these tunes only.

An age-old tradition

whistling village
Image Courtesy: Arab News 

This tradition of naming newborn babies with musical tunes has been around for decades. The tradition is called ‘Jingrwai Lawbei’ – which means the ‘Song of the Clan’s First Woman.’ Only the mother can give these unique tunes to the child. The tradition has helped the villagers for generations to communicate over long distances. And this answers one simple question. "How do you convey messages to each other at a place where you spend most of your time gathering from the forest?" It is simple, you whistle.

The Saga of Three Names

The residents of the village also have a regular name to be used in government documents. Every villager has two versions of musical names – one long and one short. The long name is a tune of 30 seconds, given at the time of the birth, and the shorter version which is of 10 seconds, is used at home. 

Doing it differently

Image Courtesy: Native Planet

Get ready to read something even more surprising. No two musical names are alike. Even when a person dies, the tune is not reused. The tunes are reminiscent of the chirpings of the birds. The girls’ names are usually softer than the boys. The village is always echoing with the hoots and whistles and at times it may sound like birds are chirping.

Our minds are blown and we can't wait to witness this with our eyes and ears! Let's add Kongthong to your Meghalaya travel itinerary to experience nature at its best and experience the unique whistle-naming tradition.

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