Happy belated Pepero (빼빼로) Day!
Pepero is a thin biscuit which has been dipped in (or filled with) chocolate and is sometimes coated with almonds or other exciting toppings. They are fairly fun to eat, if you are into eating things that look like sticks (I am). And yes, they are suspiciously similar to Japan’s Pocky (ポッキ), although the Pepero coatings are less interesting than the Japanese original (how can you go wrong with milk, almond, green tea, “mature,” honey, mousse, and dark chocolate flavorings?!)
Anyway, here in Korea, a special and highly sentimental holiday is celebrated on November 11th. Pepero Day, a holiday eponymous to the snack that is exchanged in bulk by children, young lovers, students, and the overly consumeristic all over Korea, is rumored to have been contrived by the very makers of the product, Lotte Mart. How’s that for marketing?! It’s celebrated on November 11th (11/11) because 4 Pepero sticks arranged side-by-side resembles “1111.” Taking it further, if you arranged 5 sticks, you could make “11/11.” It’s like Tangrams but better because you get to eat them after playing. Genius.
My students brought in boxes of the stuff on Friday and Monday to exchange with each other and to give to their under-fed teachers. Naturally, I’ll be passing all the students who gave me Pepero and failing the rest.