New Hampshire Glossary: Parka

parka–correctly pronounced pahk-ER, a heavy, waterproof, knee-length winter coat that includes a hood. The hood usually has a fur lining, or a fur edging.  This coat differs dramatically from a waist-length coat that is instead called a “jacket.”

Although invented by the native peoples of the Arctic region, (where is was sometimes made of feathered cormorant skins) it was happily adopted by New Hampshire citizens probably sometime in the 1920s and 30s (the time that mountain skiing became popular) for wear during especially cold and wintry weather. During World War II, the 10th Mountain Division wore their version of this versatile type of clothing.

Another version of the parka, which allows you to zip the hood in a manner where only a small portion of the face was visible, is called a “snorkel parka.”

In the 1980s, the parka went out of style, except in New England, where it is always in fashion to stay warm.  It is not considered an insult here that a high percentage of its wearers may also be considered geeks or nerds. (as those groups are always made welcome in high-tech New Hampshire).

The parka reportedly came back into general fashion in 2004.


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