[KCulture] Pepero Day

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Pepero (빼빼로) is a cookie stick, dipped in compound chocolate, manufactured by Lotte Confectionery in South Korea since 1983. 

Though not on the 14th, many people celebrate Pepero Day. This day originated ten years ago when a couple of young teenage girls exchanged peperos sticks as a wish to grow tall and slim. Today, peperos are exchanged between couples, friends, family and colleagues, and is becoming a major special occasion like Valentine's Day.

The original purpose of the Pepero Day was to exchange peperos with each other in hopes of becoming taller and thinner. The current purpose is to exchange peperos to show affection for friends and loved-ones.

The exact origins of this day are unknown. The origins are usually traced to a news story set in 1983. In the story, two female middle school students in the Yeongnamregion exchanged peperos wishing that they would both become tall and thin. There is some doubt about this story. Some argue that the origin was due to the shape of 1’s in the date (November 11 – 11/11) resembling peperos. While some attribute the similarity of shapes as factors that attributed to the popularity but not its origin.

The fad spread with the idea that, for maximum effectiveness for height and thinness, one must eat 11 packets of Pepero on November 11, 11:11am and 11.11pm at 11 seconds exactly. From 1997, Lotte started to use the aforementioned school story to successfully promote Pepero Day. The trend led to other companies creating similar-shaped snacks to participate on Pepero Day. As of 2012, Lotte was making 50% of its annual sales on Pepero Day. 

As of 2013, several department stores including Hyundai Department StoreShinsegae, and Lotte Department Store were benefiting for people celebrating the day while stores such as E-mart and Homeplus were specially displaying and selling peperos on the day.


[full credits to Korea Tourism Organization & Wikipedia]

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