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Balaclava

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Would you be intimidated if someone tried to rob you while wearing a balaclava? What about a ski mask? Trick question: they’re the same thing! The head covering recently made popular in the Pussy Riot protests is known as a balaclava. The name comes from the Port of Balaclava on the Black Sea, an important site in the Crimean War, and the headgear worn there to protect against the bitter cold. This is part of a complete episode.

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  • As a very young child in the UK in the early 1950’s my mother would knit “Balaclava Helmets” as we called them. They enveloped the whole head except for the face and were long enough to tuck in under the coat collar. They seemed to be pretty standard headgear at the time, although the hoods of ubiquitous “duffle-coats” were taking over. However, the saw me through several of my first English winters.

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