5 Things You Need to Know About Pepero Day

Happy Pepero Day! Officially recognized as a special event in South Korea in 1997, Pepero Day is a joyous day filled with exchanging Pepero boxes with others. Like Valentine’s Day, this could mean gifting these inexpensive treats to your coworkers, friends, family, or significant other. The OG Pepero that you can see at most grocery stores in South Korea come in a bright red package, consisting of thin biscuit sticks dipped in chocolate. Even better, it’s usually sold at extremely affordable prices ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 KRW (around 1 USD).

1. Eating Pepero Will Make You Thinner and Taller

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It’s no coincidence that Pepero Day is on 11/11. Though no one really knows how Pepero Day started, Lotte Corporation (the company that sells Pepero) noticed significant rises in their sales on 11/11 and looked into it. They came across a story tracing back to the 1980s when a couple of middle school girls from the Yeongnam region jokingly exchanged Pepero boxes with each other. The reason? To cheer and root for each other on their journey to becoming thin and tall like the sticks. Actively marketing this story, Lotte now boasts 65% of their total Pepero sales on this day. Even today, there is a myth that if you eat 11 Peperos at 11:11am and 11:11pm at exactly 11 seconds, then you are already on your path to achieving optimum height and slimness. Regardless of the origin, count me in! I’m all for snacking on these yummy treats with the excuse that I may reach optimum proportions. You can buy the OG Chocolate Pepero at Walmart now!

2. 20+ Different Flavors (Including Premium Flavors!)

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Yup, there are over 20 different Pepero flavors. Some of these are premium flavors and some are limited-edition flavors that only come out once a year. Cult favorite flavors are OG Chocolate, Strawberry, Almond Chocolate (chocolate coated with crushed almonds), and Nude (where the chocolate and biscuit are reversed). For those who like sweet, fruity flavors, they have Melon, Blueberry Yogurt, and Cherry Double Dip. If that’s not your cup of tea, there’s Nude Green Tea, Tiramisu Cheese, Mint Choco, Yakult (yogurt flavored), Bulgogi, and even more! Finally, for those with an extra sweet tooth, they offer double-dip and double-sized Pepero sticks as well. If you’d like to try a variety of flavors, you can buy them on sale here!

3. D.I.Y Pepero

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Nothing shows true dedication like making your own Pepero sticks at home and it’s pretty simple too! Many Koreans spend the previous day dipping the biscuit sticks in their favorite flavors and beautifully wrapping them with all sorts of decorations and personalized notes. This is particularly popular amongst couples and friends. Alternatively, some people simply wrap cash in tight rolls, called Money Pepero, and hide it in Pepero boxes. I definitely would not have any complaints receiving either surprise! Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own Pepero sticks at home. 

4. Pepero Game

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Though not exclusive to Pepero Day, the Pepero game is widely known in South Korea. Think Lady and the Tramp but with Pepero sticks. It’s a party game played with multiple pairs of people and the goal is to keep chomping away until you have the smallest bit left. But the important part is to barely touch your partner! The duo that has the teensiest, tiniest portion left wins. As for the prize, who knows? The excitement of getting oh-so-close to your partner’s lips? Popularly featured on TV programs as fan service, K-pop idol groups and actors usually play this game. It’s so competitive that the remnants usually have to be measured with rulers, which almost always means there’s some “accidental” lip touching. However, this game is also played amongst platonic friends, so there’s always incentive to break the stick a bit earlier than normal—unless they’re a daring pair!

5. Farmer’s Day (Garaetteok Day)  

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Since 1964, November 11th marked Farmer’s Day (since November 11th in Chinese characters is a symbol of  soil). Given the rise of Pepero Day, it’s been largely forgotten. However, there has been an effort to bring it back. Critics who see Pepero Day as a corporate holiday or those who complain about the stress of being single on this day, have turned to what is now called “Garraetteok Day” or Rice Cake Day. In 2006, The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs decided to set November 11th as “Garraetteok Day” in order to commemorate Farmer’s Day and promote rice consumption. The Ministry claims that this not only promotes a healthier lifestyle, but  also serves as an anniversary in which South Koreans can gratefully give back to the farming and fishing villages by purchasing their products. Either way, there’s lots to celebrate on this joyous day so be sure to join the festivities!