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

Pepero Day - Sweet treats
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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.

Pepero Day - Sweet treats
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.

Pepero Day - Homemade chocolate-covered sticks
Image credit: @hodoo.2mo

Homemade chocolate-covered sticks are a great way to experiment with cute designs and show your sincerity to the recipient.

Pepero Day - Homemade chocolate-covered sticks
Image credit: @_floving

These homemade chocolate sticks are usually designed to look colourful and cute to capture the innocence of love.

Pepero Day - Pepero cakes
Image credit: @cake.holic

Pepero cakes have also become increasingly popular with the rising trend of lunchbox cakes in Korea.

Pepero Day - Pepero cakes
Image adapted from: @mond_macaron and @bunni_fy

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.

Pepero Day - Macaron strips
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.

Pepero Day - Meringue sticks
Image adapted from: @cafe_dalsegno and @dal_doong921

Meringue sticks have also proven to be an aesthetic gift choice with their pastel tones that are bound to steal your heart.

Pepero Day - Stick-shaped shortbread cookies
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.

Pepero Day - Stick-shaped shortbread cookies
Image adapted from: @dameul_dessert and @dalkoma_ji

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

Pepero Day - Lotte Pepero wheel
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The special occasion isn’t only for confectioners – there are ample also opportunities for brands to promote their goods through Pepero-related marketing.

Pepero Day - Gompyo Pepero collaboration
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.

Pepero Day - Samyang Ramyeon Chocolate
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.

Pepero Day - Pepero bouquets
Image adapted from: @aroundbotanic and @epiphany_flowers

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.

Pepero Day - Pepero gift wrapping
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.

Pepero Day - Pepero-inspired lifestyle items, monami pens, keychains
Image adapted from: @monami_official and

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

Pepero Day - 11/11, 11.11, 11 Nov
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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

Pepero Day - Lotte Pepero
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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.

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This article was originally published on 11th November 2020 and updated on 1st June 2022.

Cover image adapted from (clockwise from left): @_floving, @mond_macaron and @aengdu_ne

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