Pepero Day in South Korea is celebrated every year on 11/11 (November 11th), as the date represents four Pepero sticks. It’s a bizarre celebration but one which the young people and loved up couples across the nation fully get behind. Pepero is a cheap (less than €1 a box) biscuit stick covered in chocolate and exchanging the popular snack in all shapes and sizes is the name of the game on this day and for couples, outdoing each other with elaborate heart-shaped Pepero boxes, Pepero teddy bears and even Pepero bouquets turns it into a Valentine’s Day part two.
Where to find Pepero?
So where can you find this magical candy in Korea? The answer quite simply is EVERYWHERE! From posh department stores to your local convenience store you can’t take two steps without tripping over Pepero sticks in the days leading up to 11/11. Supermarkets have huge displays to entice the more than willing customers and smaller convenience shops will set up covered stalls outside with dedicated lighting and salespeople to help you choose that perfect Pepero.
And the variety is something else! Of course the original plain boxes are for sale in a variety of flavours but now added to the mix are giant multi-boxes, tall individual sticks and long sticks packed with roses for the romantics. Bakeries sell even fancier, more colourful Pepero or if you really want to go above and beyond you can buy kits to make your own Pepero at home or even enroll in a Pepero making class!
History of Pepero Day
Pepero Day in South Korea started in 1994. Lotte, the producers of Pepero claim they had nothing to do with starting it all but they certainly benefit from the festivities, selling more Pepero around this day than the rest of the year combined! Lotte says that they noticed an increase in sales at this time of year and they decided to encourage sales with gift promotions.
Another rumour says the holiday was actually started in a girl’s middle school in the city of Busan where girls exchanged Pepero as they wished their friends would grow tall and slender, like the Pepero stick. How it started nobody really seems to be sure but the continuation of this holiday is a stroke of marketing genius by the folks over at Lotte, “come on everyone it’s that day you all have to buy our product and lots of it!” Other companies are starting to jump on the bandwagon, selling gift boxed products to rival try and rival Pepero but how can you expect to rival Pepero on Pepero day – come on!
Will it continue?
Korea loves it’s cutesy-ness and this day is just another example of that. Some schools are banning it as it’s getting too competitive among students. Some parents and higher ups are calling for it to be done away with it as it’s causing obesity. But I say let it continue, people express their love for each other, tell their crush how they really feel, let their friends know they were thinking of them and all through the magic of chocolate, not a bad day in my books!