Pepero Day

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Pepero (빼빼로) Day is held annually on November 11, and is an observance in South Korea similar to Valentine's Day. It involves the gifting or exchange of Pepero snacks, a line of chocolate-dipped cookie sticks, with the intention of displaying affection for friends and loved ones. It is held on this day due to the resemblance of Pepero sticks, which are vertical that mirror the shortened date of 11/11.[1] Pepero Day means "a day to convey love and friendship," and has been reborn as a global day recognized by people around the world. A few years ago, Pepero Day was so popular that it was mentioned in an American elementary school reference book.[2]

History[edit]

Pepero snacks

The exact origins of this day are unknown.[3] The origins are usually traced to a news story set in 1983. In the story, two female middle school students in the Yeongnam region exchanged Pepero wishing that they would both become tall and thin.[4] However, there is some doubt about this story.[5] Some argue that the origin was due to the shape of 1’s in the date (November 11 – 11/11) resembling Pepero sticks,[3] while some others attribute the similarity of shapes as factors that attributed to the popularity but not its origin.[4][5]

The fad spread with the idea that, for maximum effectiveness for height and thinness, one must eat 11 packets of Pepero on November 11, 11:11 am and 11:11 pm 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 similarly shaped snacks to participate on Pepero Day.[4] As of 2012, Lotte was making 50% of its annual sales on Pepero Day.[5] As of 2013, several department stores including Hyundai Department Store, Shinsegae, 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.[6]

Controversy[edit]

Garaettok, a type of Korean rice cake, has been proposed as more healthy and less commercial alternative for the foodstuff promoted on November 11 (which is also the Farmers' Day in Korea)

Pepero Day has been criticized for being a business tool and a marketing strategy of certain companies, as well as for promoting unhealthy, fattening food which is contradictory to its original meaning (about becoming tall and thin). In addition, there is an opinion that it is insult to hard-working farmers, as it competes for attention with the Farmers' Day, enacted in Korea in 1996 to promote pride in farming, which also is scheduled for the same day (November 11th). Therefore, an alternative title "Garaetteok Day" has been proposed. That name, instead of pepero, promotes the exchanges of garaetteok (sticks of white tteok, a type of Korean rice cake, which unlike pepero are commonly made and sold by smaller businesses).[4][7][8][9]

See also[edit]

  • Pocky & Pretz Day – a similar celebration in Japan, also held on 11 November
  • Singles' Day – a somewhat similar celebration in China, also held on 11 November

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pepero Day: Eight things you should know". koreatimes. 2014-11-11. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  2. ^ 임, 혜선 (2021-01-28). "[2021 아시아소비자대상]오리지널 빼빼로만 37년간 32억갑 판매". 아시아경제 (in Korean). Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  3. ^ a b Imatome-Yun, Naomi. "November 11th is Pepero Day". About.com. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c d 빼빼로데이 [Pepero Day] (in Korean). Parkmungak. Retrieved November 11, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c Gale, Alastair (November 11, 2013). "On Pepero Day, a Japanese Rival Lurks". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved November 11, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "[SS현장] '빼빼로 데이' 일부 소비자 "과소비 조장"…롯데마트 "안 사면 그만"" (in Korean). Sportsseoul.com. November 11, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-11. Retrieved November 11, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "빼빼로데이". terms.naver.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  8. ^ 조, 은정 (November 11, 2008). "[TV] 빼빼로 데이 얄팍한 상술". 노컷뉴스. South Korea. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  9. ^ 김, 동철 (November 11, 2005). ""농사꾼은 빼빼로 과자보다 못한 존재"". 새전북신문. South Korea. Retrieved April 24, 2021.