Whether walking down the street or stopping in your local convenience store, it’s impossible not to notice the rows of brightly colored boxes containing those chocolate dipped sticks that flood the store shelves throughout the beginning of November. Pepero Day is a holiday on par with Valentine’s Day and White Day in Korea, where couples and friends exchange Pepero with each other as a demonstration of their love and appreciation for one another.

While Pepero Day has both its fans and critics, there’s a lot more to this day than a simple box of chocolate covered treats. Here are 11 cool facts about Pepero Day to think about while munching down on your box of Pepero.

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1. The Origin of Pepero Day has Two Stories- Pepero Day is always celebrated on the eleventh of November. While some stories say this is because the shape of Pepero resembles a number 1, and two Pepero’s are exchanged between two people make 11, there have been other versions of Pepero origin story.

 

2. A Tale of Two Students– Another origin story says that two female middle school students exchanged Pepero back in 1983, hoping that by eating it, they would become tall and thin. After the story found its into the mainstream media, the story spread across the country, urging other students to share their Pepero in the hopes of losing a few pounds and gaining a few inches in height.

 

3. On the Eleventh Day, on the Eleventh Hour– The myth of eating Pepero in order to become thin is a very specific set of instructions. In order for the supposed myth to work, one must eat a Pepero on November 11th at 11:11 AM or PM on the eleventh second precisely.

 

4. All the Flavors– There are currently 10 different flavors of Pepero. The most popular flavors being chocolate, almond and strawberry while the more exotic flavors being tiramisu with cheese and melon. Homemade pepero is a also a great way to make them customized towards that special someone and lavishly decorate and flavor them to your taste.

 

5. Pocky vs. Pepero– Pepero has a lot in common with a similar Japanese flavored snack called Pocky, right down to sharing the same shape, some of the same flavors, and even charges of ripping off their packaging. Glico, the company that makes Pocky even considered pressing legal action towards Lotte, the creators of Pepero at one point, but reconsidered since Pocky wasn’t commercially sold in Korea at the time. This has led to a bunch of frenzied taste tests to determine just which one is really better.

 

6. Not Exactly the Same– Since the initial Pocky/Pepero feud, Pocky has actually appeared on Korean shores and has experienced modest success next to Pepero. To this day, Lotte claims that the idea for Pepero did not come from Pocky and is indeed an original creation.

 

7. Premium Pepero– There are many different kinds of Pepero and Pepero gift sets to purchase on Pepero Day, some of which cost up to 55,000 won! Some of these variants come in gift baskets, with plush animals or extra large boxes.

 

8. The Anti-Pepero Day– Pepero Day has its fair share of critics, claiming that despite Lotte’s claims, is nothing more than a corporate holiday and is the opposite of the original myth of being a healthy snack to loose weight. Pepero Day has also been blamed on causing stress among single people, especially among single co-workers.

 

9. The Pepero Alternative– One alternative to celebrating Pepero Day is to celebrate Garaetteok Day, a special day also on November 11th meant to celebrate the farmers of Korea. Garaetteok are long sticks of white tteok (rice cake), and considered a healthier and more traditional alternative to Pepero.

 

10. Pepero: A License to Print Money– Lotte claims that they make up to 65% of their yearly Pepero sales and profits in November, with department stores like E-mart and Homeplus also noticing a boost in their sales.

 

11. Elegant Design and Function– Pepero boxes looks the same throughout the year except on Pepero Day, where the box design features elegant looking designs and colored edges in order to make attractive shapes and displays such as giant hearts.

 

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Whether you get some Pepero this year from a special someone or your students, be sure to enjoy and remember, no matter how much Pepero you eat you won’t end up tall and skinny.

 

Images: littleredtreehouse | nuseoul

For more info on Pepero Day, visit the following sites: WSJ Asia, CuteinKorea, Koreabang, and Dom and Hyo. Where do you stand on Pocky vs. Pepero and which flavors are your favorite?

 

About The Author

Kyle Hovanec

Kyle Hovanec currently lives and works in Incheon, South Korea. He has contributed to several print and online publications in South Korea, including Groove Magazine.

Comments

  1. Kumud Ali says:

    wish to have one from afreind………omg amaze