Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pepero Day in South Korea

Pepero Day is an observance in South Korea similar to Valentine's Day. It is named after the Korean snack Pepero and held on November 11, since the date "11/11" resembles four sticks of Pepero.
pepero almond sticks photo by Evan-Amos
What is Pepero? Pepero (빼빼로) is a cookie stick, dipped in chocolate syrup, manufactured by Lotte Confectionery in South Korea since 1983. It was copied from the Japanese product, Pocky produced by Glico.

The holiday is observed mostly by young people and couples, who exchange Pepero sticks, other candies, and romantic gifts. Lotte denies starting the holiday and instead states that they noticed a bump in Pepero sales around November 11th and after continued popularity they decided to then encourage the holiday with special gift boxes and other promotions. Some consider it to be a contrived holiday and some teachers have encouraged children to exchange healthy snacks to help combat obesity. An alternative "Garaetteok Day" (sticks of white tteok) has been proposed.

According to one story, Pepero Day was started in 1994 by students at a girls' middle school in Busan, where they exchanged Pepero sticks as gifts to wish one another to grow "as tall and slender as a Pepero".

As of 2007, it was sold in 10 different flavors:
  • Regular or Chocolate
  • Strawberry-flavored
  • Almond Chocolate
  • Nude (chocolate in the center)
  • Nude Lemon Cheese
  • Cocoa
  • Soft
  • Cheese
  • "Woman in White" and "Man in Black" are slightly more "classy" brands of Pepero, and both have chocolate cookie bits scattered throughout the chocolate dip.
  • Topic, a style similar to Japanese Toppo, also manufactured by Lotte.

In Japan, a similar Pocky Day was started but not as widely celebrated as it is in Korea.
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resources: Official Pepero Site / wikipedia / /
links: Pepero HistoryPepero Day sweet for food retailers / Sth Korea calendar laden with love

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