Pepero Day

November 11, 2009


Well, it’s Pepero Day again. The last time the event rolled around in this blog I was unable to delve too deeply into precisely what it’s all about. This year I shall attempt to lift the lid on the perplexing esoteric rituals of this unusual day.

A pepero is a kind of cookie/bread type stick covered in (or filled with) chocolate that is popular with Korean kids. Like pretty much every snack or bit of confectionary produced in Korea, they are made by Lotte. Lotte makes all the sweeties, all the candy, all of it. They’re a chaebol, one of Korea’s mega-conglomerates, and although they might not have the international profile of Samsung or LG, they’re still a pretty big deal. Think of them as a cross between Willy Wonka and the OCP Corporation from Robocop.

There was once an episode of The Simpsons that featured a nefarious greeting card conglomerate inventing a new holiday called “Love Day” to offset a period of low sales and manipulate people into buying cards and other crap on a meaningless day. Korea’s Lotte Co Ltd seems to have viewed that episode at some time, promptly missed the intended satire therein and instead took the message at face-value, for Korean kids now celebrate “Pepero Day” on the 11th of November. This involves buying a fuck-ton of Pepero and giving them to just about everyone you know. It’s especially aimed at schoolkids who will more often than not spend the 11th of November in the company of hundreds of their peers. The pepero resembles the numerical figure 1 and the 11th of November, 11/11, is therefore the perfect day to honour the shape of that snack.

Due to their target consumers being children, Lotte has a low opinion of the intelligence of most people, hence their continued insistence that they did not in fact invent Pepero Day. It was schoolgirls in Busan, apparently, who started giving each other pepero on November 11th sometime in the mid 1990s. Lotte claim they just got in on the act once they noticed sales of their product spiking in late October, early November. So they didn’t start it, they just aggressively cultivated it and then spread the practice nationwide.


One comment

  1. […] Happy Pepero Day one and all. […]

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