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11 fun things to know about Pepero Day on 11/11
Nov 11 2016 28 6722


Nov 11 is Pepero Day - a day that celebrates friendship, kinship, and all other treasured relationships. It's similar to Valentine's Day, just that there is only one kind of chocolate to give away - Pepero. This yummy stick biscuit - Korea's own version of Pocky by Japan - is a national favourite. It is especially popular ahead of Pepero Day, and you will see the snack being displayed everywhere, in all kinds of flavours and sizes. Here are 11 fun things to know about Pepero and its special day:


1. Origin of Pepero Day

No one really knows how exactly Pepero Day came about. But legend has it that it started in the 1980s with two high school girls exchanging Pepero on Nov 11 and eating them at 11:11am so they can becomes as tall and skinny as Pepero sticks. It may sound silly, but the idea stuck gold when Pepero's makers started to actively promote Nov 11 as Pepero Day from 1997, and the tradition continues today.


2. Why 11/11?

Doesn't the number 1 resemble a Pepero stick? So 11/11 is a perfect symbol of the chocolate snack! It's not known who came up with this idea, but it spread like wildfire and Nov 11 became a popular day to eat and exchange Pepero snacks.


3. Who celebrates Pepero Day?

Anyone can give Pepero to anyone else. Lovers can exchange Pepero. Friends share Pepero among themselves. Parents can give to their children - and vice versa. Grandparents can pamper their grandchildren with Pepero. Teachers give it to their students. Colleagues at work can also give Pepero to one another. There are no rules or restrictions at all.


4. Who makes Pepero?

Pepero is produced by Korean confectionery giant Lotte, which had its roots in Japan. It is supposedly inspired by Japan's Pocky. Lotte makes candies, chewing gums, chips and other tidbits too, and they are constantly coming up with new varieties and flavours. One new limited-edition product this year is salty prawn chips dipped in sweet chocolate!


5. Skyrocketing sales

Sales of the chocolate snack will start to surge a week before Pepero Day, up to as many as 80 times more than usual. So yes, it's a gigantic cash cow for Lotte! It could be that Pepero is a lot more affordable than fancy chocolates needed to Valentine's Day, so people don't hesitate to stock up to give to practically everyone. A packet of the original Pepero costs just 800 won.


6. So many flavours!

There are more than 10 flavours for Pepero, from the original chocolate stick to dark, skinny, cookie-coated, nuts-coated, fruit flavoured, and green tea. There's even a coconut-flavoured Pepero launched mid this year.


7. Fancy Pepero Day specials

To mark Pepero Day, Lotte puts out a variety of specially-designed packaging for Pepero products every year, from giant sticks to fancy gift boxes and some even allow you to write messages for your friends.


8. Not just a cookie maker

Pepero maker Lotte doesn't just produce the popular chocolate sticks. The company owns a major hotel chain and department store chain too, on top of a myraid of businesses including F&B (Lotteria, Angel-in-us cafe), financial services (Lotte Card, Lotte Insurance), residential construction (Lotte Castle), and a hugely popular amusement park (Lotte World). The Lotte Group is in fact one of Korea's biggest chaebol, or conglomerates.


9. Choco snacks galore on Pepero Day

Tired of giving just Pepero on Nov 11, and looking for alternatives? Worry not, the marts totally understand. For instance, Homeplus, one of Korea's largest megamart chains, is offering up to 270 kinds of confecionary products this year for consumers to choose from. You'll be truly spoilt for choice!


10. Pepero vs Pocky

While Koreans celebrate Pepero Day, the Japanese mark Pocky Day on Nov 11. The two chocolate-covered snacks are strikingly similar, but Pocky was launched in Japan in 1966 while Pepero hit the stores in Korea only in 1983. Pocky's maker Glico had wanted to sue Lotte for copying it, but realised it would be difficult since Pepero was sold in Korea and not Japan, while Pocky was not sold in Korea. Pocky entered the Korean market only in 2013, through a partnership with Korean confectionary maker Haitai.


11. Heard of "nude" Pepero?

Pepero is such a tease! But don't start thinking of pepero sticks lying on a nude model yet. Nude Pepero actually refers to a type that comes without its signature chocolate coating. It's no regular stick biscuit though - there's filling inside the stick, and it comes in flavours like chocolate and green tea.