Americans know Valentine's Day to be a day when we give candies and flowers to our loved ones. Valentine's Day falls on February 14th of each year. But what if I told you that there's a different type of Valentine's Day happening in Korea in November? Welcome to Korea's version of Valentine's Day, Pepero Day!
The exact origins of Pepero Day are not known. It can be traced back to a news story in 1983 of two middle school girls in the Yeongnam region that wanted to be tall and thin while exchanging Pepero snacks. Some argue that the origins started with the date, November 11, or 11/11, resembling Pepero sticks. There was a popular belief, at the time, that if one consumed 11 packets of Pepero on November 11 at 11:11 pm at 11 seconds exactly, they would achieve maximum height and thinness! In 1997, Lotte decided to use the middle school story to successfully promote Pepero Day. The trend has caused many competitors creating similarly shaped snacks to participate during this day. As of 2012, Lotte was making 50% of its annual sales on Pepero Day.
So what do Koreans do during this "holiday"? Pepero Day is similar to America's version of Valentine's Day. Koreans typically give Pepero to children, co-workers, friends, or family members. Many young Koreans will usually take this day to express their feelings for crushes or people they like! They will often be creative and send a basket of Pepero snacks with some flowers as gifts!
Here are some interesting facts about Pepero Day (According to Korea Times):
1. Pepero Day is reportedly the most profitable day for convenience stores all year.
2. Up to 30 percent of all annual Pepero sales occur within a week of Pepero Day, according to Consumer Report Korea.
3. The plain Pepero has fewer calories than the almond-flavored one.
4. The entire length of all Pepero sticks ever sold can circle the circumference of the Earth, 250 times!
5. According to a dating agency, seven out of 10 people "do not think exchanging Peperos are necessary."
So what are your thoughts about this fun and quirky Korean "holiday"? Which K-pop idol would you like to receive a Pepero from? Let us know in the comments below!