Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pepero Day

 Today is a holiday.  Not only is it Veteran’s Day, but November 11th also happens to be another (far less important) holiday in Korea.

I’m referring to Pepero Day.  The craze began sixteen years ago in Busan, when two teenage girls exchanged Pepero sticks (long, thin chocolate covered biscuits) in hopes that they would grow tall and slim.  Seems rather counterproductive to their goal, does it not?  Why would you give someone a sugar filled snack to promote slenderness?

However odd, stemming from that original exchange, Pepero sticks are presently given to loved ones on what is now Pepero Day.   The holiday has become so commercialized that it’s comparable to Valentine’s Day in the US.  I remember my students mentioning it all the way back in March when we first began teaching.  Many South Korean teachers allow students to offer Pepero boxes to their classmates at exactly 11:11 am on November 11th, the day the holiday is celebrated.

Care to venture a guess as to why Pepero Day falls on November 11th

Give up?  Imagine four of the long thin sticks lined up in a row…

Still not seeing it?  Each candy resembles the number one, so four of them together resemble 11/11.  It’s all become strangely and perfectly clear right?

The sweet sticks, manufactured by Lotte, an enormous South Korean company may or not be Korea’s imitation of Japan’s “Pocky.”   The popular Japanese candy has similar characteristics to Pepero, not to mention nearly identical packaging…

According to some sources, it’s Japan who wants to imitate Korea by trying (and so far failing) to recognize a local “Pocky Day.”

Imitation or not, let the kids (and adults) have their fun with Pepero Day.  Ryan and I especially enjoyed it since we coincidentally had the day off from school!  While out and about we saw massive displays for the occasion.

Happy Pepero Day, and of course Happy Veteran’s Day to all. :)

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