Happy Pepero Day!
Today is a holiday. In the United States, we call it Veterans’ day, because on this day (11/11) way back in 1918, the Allied forces signed an armistice with Germany to end World War 1. Because this was the worst war that anyone on Earth had ever experienced at the time the United States made it a holiday in gratitude to all the people who fought in the war and sacrificed so much… their youth.. their health… and for some.. their lives.
Well, Korea didn’t have much involvement with the fight against Germany in WWI, so the day didn’t really hold much significance to anyone here.
Fast forward to (at least) the 1980’s. A new snack hits the market.
Blatantly copied Inspired by the Japanese Pocky (made by Glico), Lotte confectionery debuted Pepero in Korea. Pepero (and Pocky) are cookie sticks which have been dipped in chocolate and other flavors. It’s hard to describe if you’ve never eaten it, but it was a hit!
And what better way to sell your product is there than to create a holiday for it? If you can make another day that girls are supposed to get something from their boyfriends (or give her another excuse to get angry at him if he forgets), you’ll have guys lining up to buy your product (or else!) all on the same day. It will be a huge financial success!
After a while it became universal, and people are supposed to buy a box of Pepero for everyone who they will encounter that day; teachers, students, coworkers, family members, the bus driver, etc..
Valentines Day and Christmas actually have SOME meaning behind the choice of day. Why is Veterans’ Day the day for Pepero? Does it have something to do with the mandatory military service?
No, actually the two are totally unrelated. Today is November the eleventh. If you write it in numerals, it would be 11/11. Ones are long and thin, just like Pepero. Today’s date has all long and thin numbers, thus the most opportune time to give Pepero. If you want to be technical about it, you could narrow the giving time to one of the two Pepero hours (11 AM or 11 PM) or even one of the Pepero minutes (11:11 AM or 11:11 PM) or even one of the Pepero seconds (11:11:11 AM or 11:11:11 PM).
Next year, 2011, I bet there will be a Mega Pepero day. I imagine fireworks and free Pepero for all on 11/11/11 at 11:11:11 PM.
Pepero wasn’t around in the year 1111, but think about how that would have been Mega Super Pepero Day! That’s a day we won’t see until the year 11111. By then I wonder if
humans Pepero will even be around anymore.
While it’s true that Pepero did borrow Pocky’s design, the makers of Pocky borrowed the idea and tried to make today Pocky Day in Japan, but so far they have failed to make it nearly as popular.
The same can be said for other holidays, as both Japan and Korea have Valentine’s Day and White Day, but only Korea has Black Day, Yellow Day, and Green Day. Wait, actually Japan also has Green Day, but it’s a totally different day unrelated to the string of holidays that fall on the 14th of the month starting with Valentine’s Day. Americans also have Green Day, but it’s a band, not a holiday. But that’s all another story.