Did You Know South Korea Has A Special Holiday Called Pepero Day?

November 11 has a different meaning in South Korea.

IMAGE Lotte Confectionery

November 11 might be another normal day for anyone or for those who love online shopping, it's a day of online promos and discounts. But in South Korea, they celebrate an unofficial Valentine's-like holiday called Pepero Day on November 11.

Photo by Facebook/LOTTE PEPERO

Yes, it's a day that revolves around gifting a box of Pepero, a cookie stick dipped in chocolate that's manufactured by Lotte Confectionery. This is one of the most popular snacks in South Korea and it comes in different flavors such as Almond, Choco Cookie, White Cookie, Nude Chocolate, and more.

Pepero Day is held on November 11 because of the resemblance of the Pepero sticks with the number 1. You can form the shortened date of November 11 (11-11) using Pepero sticks.

It looks like an 11/11, right?
Photo by Lotte
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As Pepero Day inches closer, more convenience stores and supermarkets in South Korea will put up large displays of Pepero. Lotte even has special promotions that include special packaging and flavors for the occasion.

The origins of Pepero Day

The exact origin of Pepero Day is unknown, but this phenomenon is commonly connected to a popular theory that dates back to 1983. And this theory revolves around two female students who exchanged Pepero with each other in the hopes of becoming tall and thin, just like the Pepero cookie stick. 

This is why there's a superstition that by eating Pepero on November 11, precisely at 11:11:11 a.m. or 11:11:11 p.m., you can achieve one's dream of being thinner and taller.

It was in 1997 that Pepero took the opportunity of marketing November 11 as Pepero Day. In modern times, it has taken more of a romantic meaning than just wanting to be thin or taller.


What Is Pepero Day + How To Celebrate Pepero Day

Pepero Day is celebrated similar to Valentine's Day, but instead of giving flowers and chocolates, people give out boxes of Pepero to the people they care about, either as a sign of friendship or romance. According to Korean Class, this is celebrated differently depending on your age group.

Children celebrate Pepero Day by giving Pepero to their friends, teachers, and family members, but for those who are older, this can be exchanged between those who are in a relationship or this can also serve as a confession that you like someone. 


For women who are in a relationship, a popular way of celebrating Pepero Day is to make a DIY Pepero. Stores and online shops will offer DIY Pepero kits which usually include biscuits, mold, unmelted chocolate, and toppings such as nuts and sprinkles. Because nothing's more romantic than a personalized gift, right?

But for those who are health-conscious, there's also a trend of making Money Pepero. This is made by rolling a bill of money horizontally for it to resemble Pepero, then stuffed inside a box.

The controversy around Pepero Day

There are many who criticize Pepero Day because of different reasons, like how it causes stress among single people (just like Valentine's Day), while some say that Pepero Day is nothing but a means to rake in some cash.


There are also people who criticize Pepero Day because it defeats the original meaning of "being thinner and taller." This is why there's also the Garaetteok Day or the Korean Rice Cake Day for those who are against Pepero Day. This day celebrates farmers through exchanging garaetteok (cylindrical rice cakes, similar to the shape of Pepero), which are considered to be healthier and more traditional.

Fun fact: In Japan, they also hold a similar event on the same day, but it's called Pocky & Pretz Day. These are biscuit sticks that are manufactured by Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd. Pocky and Pretz are the Japanese counterparts of the Pepero snack, while Glico is a competitor of Lotte.



Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!


Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here!

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