While the rest of the world commemorates the day that WWI ended and pays respects to their veterans, South Korea celebrates Pepero day. What is Pepero Day? And what is Pepero?
Pepero is essentially a chocolate-dipped breadstick. The normal size of a Pepero stick is usually a bit smaller than a pencil, but they can get up to the size of a long cigar. Pepero exists in the USA, but it is sold under the name of Pocky and found in Asian markets and some grocery stores.
Pepero Day is a commercial holiday invented by Lotte, the makers of Pepero. Their explanation is that November 11th, abbreviated 11/11, is the perfect day to celebrate Pepero because all of those ones in 11/11 look just like Pepero in a box. Of course, everyone is reminded of Pepero when they see all those ones on their calendars anyway, so why not make it a special day? Hmm... Despite these dubvious connections, their plan seems to be working because Lotte earns 55% of its Pepero sales in the month of November. The boxes range from small packets to boxes of mammoth proportions, and prices ranges from anywhere between 700W (70 cents) to 35000W ($35).
I would liken the holiday to Valentine's Day, only instead of handing out little cards and boxes of chocolate, everyone hands out boxes of Pepero to their favorite people. Further, most of the boxes are red and are printed with hearts, teddy bears, or pink-bowed puppies. The boxes even have convenient "To" and "From" spaces printed on them for the purpose of gift-giving. Luckily, my students adore me. I have quite a catch of Pepero on which to nibble away my Thursday evening.