Em in Asia!

My Experiences Living and Teaching in South Korea

Pepero Day (빼빼로 데이)!


Today, my friends, is a very important and monumental holiday in Korea. It is Pepero day (빼빼로 데이). What is Pepero? Think of it like Korean pocky. It’s like a biscuity-stick that is either covered in chocolate, covered in chocolate and nuts, or filled with chocolate. It’s delicious. According to wikipedia it comes in 10 different flavors – “Regular or Chocolate” (the one sitting on my desk right now); “Strawberry-flavored;” “Almond Chocolate;” “Nude” (chocolate in the center – the one I was given two sticks of earlier); “Nude Lemon Cheese” (one I have never seen nor do I think I want to taste… o.O); “Cocoa;” “Soft” (?); “Cheese;” “Woman in White” and “Man in Black” which again, accoriding to Wikipedia, are “classy” brands of Pepero, and both have chocolate cookie bits scattered throughout the chocolate dip; and last “Topic” which is a style similar to Japanese Toppo.

Korea is well-known for it’s couples holidays, and Pepero day is the first major one that I’ve observed. As I’m currently at school and not much is different but I’m sure if I was in an area with more young people/in a department store I would be able to tell more. Pepero day is somewhat similar to Valentine’s Day, except more blatantly commercial. On Pepero day (November 11, since the date “11/11” resembles four sticks of Pepero) young people and couples give each other Pepero sticks, other candies, and gifts.

Some people say that Pepero Day was started by girls at a middle school in Busan in 1994. They gave each other Pepero sticks as gifts to inspire the girls to develop the figure of a pepero stick, so basically “here’s this cracker stick dipped in chocolate, eat it and then try to look like this stick.”

Pepero is ONLY manufactured by Lotte Confectionery which means that as Pepero day is a holiday, it is in effect a monopolized holiday. Lotte usually does about 55% of their Pepero business in November every year. There is some speculation as to whether or not Lotte actually started the holiday as a method to increase sales of Pepero but Lotte denies this, merely stating that when it saw a spike in its sales in Novemember (that it had nothing to do with) it decided to take advantage of this and start advertising.

It’s such a weird holiday, and not all Koreans seem to like it or even understand why it is around. Some seem to think that it’s really romantic, stating that “if you give a package of Pepero to someone on Nov. 11 at 11 minutes past 11 o’clock your love will last forever” whereas others confess that they don’t care about the holiday, they just buy Pepero for their significant others so that they don’t end up in the doghouse.

I can’t help but like Pepero Day. It’s like Valentine’s Day but instead of making Valentines, expressing love, etc, this is either about giving candy to someone so that they’ll be your true love forever, or trying to support your friends’ desire to lose weight and look like a stick by giving them candy. What’s not to like?

One Comment to

“Pepero Day (빼빼로 데이)!”

  1. Avatar December 6th, 2010 at 11:33 am Em in Asia! » Blog Archive » Belated 빼빼로 (Pepero) Day Says:

    […] You know PEPERO Day?!” “Yes, but Pepero day was in November?” “I… no give Pepero. NOW today I give […]

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안녕하세요! My name is Emily and when I started this blog I had received a 2010 – 2011 F*lbright grant to teach English in South Korea.  I then decided to apply to renew my grant, so I am now staying in Korea until July 2012. This blog is not an official F*lbright Program blog, and the views expressed are my own and not those of the F*lbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a degree in Philosophy Pre-Law and Classical Civilizations, and found myself 3 months later teaching English at SGHS. The town that I taught in, SG, is a small town of 12,000 people, an “읍” (eup) rather than a “시” (shi – city), and though it was sometimes hard teaching in such a small town I really enjoyed the unique experience of being the first foreign teacher SGHS had ever had. I lived in the largest part of the county which is significantly bigger (40,000 people) than the town the school is situated in, but is also considered rural by Korean standards.

During my second grant period (2011-2012) I decided to change schools and I currently teach at CPHS which is located in an even smaller town than previously, in Jeollanamdo.

This blog is meant to serve as a reflection not only of being a Native English Speaking teacher in Korea, but also of living as a foreigner in rural Korea.