Pepero Day brings romance to Koreans on Nov. 11

November 10, 2015
Pepero Day (Korea Times file)

Pepero Day (Korea Times file)

By Brian Han

In South Korea, Nov. 11 marks a special holiday.

It’s a bit more romantic than Veterans Day. Think of it as more of a Korean Valentines Day if you will.

Instead of boxes of chocolate though, it revolves around a snack by Lotte called Pepero.

The confectionary company has been manufacturing the cookie stick dipped in chocolate (and a handful of other flavors) since 1983. Since then, the crunchy snack evolved into a symbol of affection.

But it wasn’t always like that.

The day was chosen because when written out numerically (11/11), it resembled a group of Pepero sticks.

The original intent of Pepero Day focused on sharing the snack with the hopes of becoming thinner and taller. Sure, it was ironic for a holiday built on sweets to promote those two things, which might be the reason why it slowly changed into something else.

But logic isn’t always necessary when it comes to holidays. A large man climbing down a tiny chimney. A rabbit hiding ornately painted eggs for children to find.

So eating 11 Pepero sticks on Nov. 11 at 11:11 a.m. and p.m. at 11 seconds doesn’t seem too farfetched, does it?

Well, Lotte probably doesn’t mind how obsessive consumers get because it makes a hefty proportion of its sales on the holiday. Back in 2012, the company made 50 percent ($81.6 million) of its annual sales on Pepero day according to the Wall Street Journal.

Whether it’s a gift to a loved one or a dietary superstition, Pepero Day continues on for millions both in South Korea and in the U.S.

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