Pepero Day in Korea
It’s 11/11 and there’s only one thought filling the minds of Koreans – how to celebrate Pepero Day. In Korea, Pepero Day is as special as Valentine’s Day. On this day, people exchange Pepero – a chocolate-covered stick biscuit – to show affection for their loved ones, especially their partners.
Every year, Koreans come up with creative ways to celebrate this special day, such as baking their own stick-shaped desserts and purchasing uniquely packaged Peperos.
Romantic holiday brings aesthetic desserts to the table
Image credit: @sweet_dreaming
On Pepero Day, Koreans are not shy to go the extra mile with their gifts. It’s not enough to gift boxes of Lotte Pepero with handwritten messages. This year, many have taken a step further to bake and purchase aesthetic Pepero-inspired desserts, such as macaron sticks, homemade chocolate-covered sticks, and Pepero cakes.
Image credit: @beatrice.min
In the weeks leading up to the big day, many confectioneries and home bakers take the opportunity to sell vaguely stick-shaped desserts. As long as your dessert is long and resembles the number “1”, it’s appropriate for Pepero Day celebrations.
Image credit: @hodoo.2mo
Homemade chocolate-covered sticks are a great way to experiment with cute designs and show your sincerity to the recipient.
Image credit: @_floving
These homemade chocolate sticks are usually designed to look colourful and cute to capture the innocence of love.
Image credit: @cake.holic
Pepero cakes have also become increasingly popular with the rising trend of lunchbox cakes in Korea.
Some choose to design their cakes to look like the packaging of Lotte’s Pepero, while others place chocolate-dipped sticks around the cake. Either way, both are equally adorable and fit for the occasion.
Image credit: @aengdu_ne
Even round macarons can become a “1” shape. Placed in rows of 3 or 4, these macarons form macaron strips – another popular gift for the holiday.
Meringue sticks have also proven to be an aesthetic gift choice with their pastel tones that are bound to steal your heart.
Image credit: @mienne06
Stick-shaped shortbread cookies also sell well during this special occasion. Such cookies are often beautifully decorated with icing or chocolate to express love and gratitude.
There’s no restriction to the kind of designs you’ll find. These include character-themed, minimalist-style, and colourful shortbread cookie sticks.
Businesses use couple’s day to promote themselves
Image credit: @1004ceo_jisook
The special occasion isn’t only for confectioners – there are ample also opportunities for brands to promote their goods through Pepero-related marketing.
Image credit: @mihome_0228
Gompyo, a flour company, incorporated their newtro design into reusable bags and milk carton-style packaging for Lotte Pepero bundles. The packaging features their nostalgic Gompyo bear mascot munching on Pepero sticks. Instead of “Gompyo” or “Pepero”, the brand name is replaced by “Pe-bear” – a clever and cute combination of the 2 brands.
Image credit: @samyangfoods
Even Samyang, best known for their fiery hot instant noodles, joined in on the fun. They released a simple Ramyeon Chocolate guide on how to enjoy their ramyeon like how you would eat a Pepero stick.
Florists have also jumped on the bandwagon with Pepero bouquets and packaging services for the stick-shaped snack. These are perfect for those who run out of creative juices but don’t want to fall short of impressing your significant other.
Image credit: @cafe.bugloss
Some cafes and shops also sell nicely-wrapped boxes of the snack with a mini card for you to write down well wishes for the recipient.
The themed goods change every year, but one thing’s for sure – it’ll definitely be cute. Some notable goods popular this year are lifestyle items like knitted Pepero stick keychains and DIY pens that resemble the stick snack.
History of Pepero Day
Image credit: leobluektb
It is said to have started in 1993, when a group of high school girls from Busan wanted to be slim and tall like Pepero sticks. They believed that having the sticks on 11th November would help them achieve their body goals. Lotte Confectionery, the manufacturer of Pepero, saw the story as a potential marketing campaign and turned 11th of November into a special day.
Over time, marketing campaigns started to focus on the idea of sharing Pepero sticks with your loved ones. The fact that the snack resembled the numerical date of 11th November – 11/11 – was constantly highlighted, making Pepero Day now a globally-known event.
Celebrating Pepero Day in Korea
Image credit: @yeonaaa_7
Some might think of 11th November as “Singles’ Day” or a day to splurge on 11.11 sales, but Koreans celebrate this special day by exchanging boxes of Peperos and stick-shaped desserts.
Even if you’re not attached, you don’t have to worry about feeling left out because Pepero Day is not solely for couples. Gifting sweet treats to friends and family is normal and that’s what makes 11/11 heartwarming and appealing for its celebrants.
Check out other K-culture articles:
- Newtro trend in Korea
- Popular Korean slang in 2020
- Seoul then & now
- Ultimate guide to soju
- Korean dramas in 2021
This article was originally published on 11th November 2020 and updated on 1st June 2022.
Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.