Pepero Day 빼빼로데이

Thursday, November 11, 2021

November 11 is here which means one thing; it's Pepero Day! It also happens to be other days, but without a doubt, Pepero Day stands out to me the most because of the sweet treats and gifting.

Unfortunately, this year I won't be able to enjoy these chocolate-covered biscuits because of some much-needed dental work (which is another story for another post). But, I did go out and buy some to surprise my little ones though.

Pepero Day was always a fun day when I lived in Korea. In my first year of teaching in Korea, I unexpectedly received boxes of this cheap but yummy snack from students. In the US where I was from, the Korean community seemed to celebrate Pepero Day if the day was on a convenient day (like over the weekends when Koreans got together for church). 

It is amazing how big this holiday is in Korea. It's a holiday much like Valentine's Day and over the years, this snack has come out with many variations.  I have read and seen over the internet the many, many different flavored Peperos that came out over the years but unfortunately, there were only a few choices to pick from at my closest Korean grocery store (Hmart). 

A collection of different pepero(s).

Origins of Pepero Day

So, you may be wondering when and how this holiday began. 

The story goes that in 1993 two middle school girls exchanged boxes of Pepero wishing each other to grow tall and thin like the Pepero biscuits that were inside the boxes. The story was published in a newspaper and Lotte, the conglomerate company that makes Pepero, took it to market as they saw it as a good way to make money. During marketing development, however, the story of exchanging Pepero between friends changed to a day of exchanging between lovers. Pepero Day became an official day in 1997.

Then What is Pocky and Isn't it the Same Thing as Pepero?

To sum it up into one word, yes. Pepero and Pocky are essentially the same thing. Pocky is made by a Japanese company, Glico. Technically, this chocolate-covered biscuit was first introduced in Japan twenty years before Korea introduced theirs. Because Pocky was not sold in Korea, Lotte was able to evade potential lawsuits for essentially copycatting Pocky sticks. However, Pepero Day became an official holiday two years before Japan announced Pocky Day. No matter the case, both companies are profiting from this very tasty snack. 

November 11 is Not Just Pepero Day

Korean rice cake.

Today also happens to be Farmer's Day and so some may argue that you should be gifting people 가래떡 (garraetteok), which are long cylindrical pieces of rice cake. This rice cake is made by pounding steamed rice flour, cutting the dough, and rolling them into long cylinders. 가래떡 is the main ingredient we use to make the famous street snack 떡복끼 (dukbokki). You can bet that I always have frozen packages of 떡 for those days I crave 떡복끼. 

I don't know about 가래떡 but I'll definitely be dreaming of Pepero and coffee tonight. 

With Korea becoming more globalized, I have heard of fun holidays such as this one being celebrated in the States. So that makes me wonder, were you a lucky lover who received a box of Pepero this year?

My kids' bellies were filled with lots of chocolatey goodness today. 

Happy Pepero Day, Everyone!




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