I love holidays along with any excuse to do something out of the ordinary. Thankfully Korea is full of random holidays and one is just a day away, Peppero (빼빼로) Day! This year Pepero Day is extra super duper special because it lands on November 11, 2011 (11.11.11), thus making it Millennium Pepero Day, a date which only appears on the calendar once every 1,000 years.
First you may be wondering, ‘what the heck is a peppero?’ Peppero is typically a plain thin cookie stick half dipped in chocolate, but there are several variations on the snack such as chocolate and almond, chocolate filled, strawberry etc. There are also may sizes ranging from your basic snack pack to the ridiculously giant sized that I honestly don’t believe anyone can finish. If you are familiar with Japanese Pocky, it’s the Korean version of that.
So why does a cookie get it’s own holiday? Apparently when you pull out two pepero sticks, they resemble the number 11, so it was only logical that November 11th (11.11) of every year should be deemed pepero day. Honestly, the day literally showed up out of nowhere sometime in the 1990s as a marketing strategy for food companies such as Lotte. Since then, however, it has been gradually gaining huge popularity over the years especially among younger crowds.
Where can you get peppero? Around every corner. Because it IS a holiday, and a particularly big one this year, you can find large elaborate displays and banners inside and outside every store. You can find specially packaged pepero, gift baskets and plushies at your local convenient stores (GS/ Family Mart) or larger marketing chains (E-Mart/ Lotte Mart). Even bakeries (Paris Baguette/ Tous Les Jours) are cashing in on the holiday with their own stick shaped gourmet treats and special gift boxes. For Pepero Day enthusiasts, store bought treats simply won’t do , and they go on to make their own elaborate pepero sticks complete with hand made packaging.
So what should you do about it? Jump right in! Like Valentines Day, couples, friends as well as teachers and students exchange these tasty treats. It maybe a silly idea for a holiday, but it’s always nice to give and receive something delicious. Have a wonderful sugar filled Millennium Pepero Day!