Pepero Day!

This past Wednesday (11/11) was Pepero Day in Korea, a national holiday not to honour the war dead like in Britain and America, but to eat a particular type of sweet called a Pepero (Pocky in Japan), which is a little biscuit stick dipped in chocolate. For about a fortnight before the day people kept asking me if I was buying Pepero any time soon, which proved very confusing as I am a foreigner and was not aware of this strange holiday. Once I figured out what a Pepero was and when Pepero Day was, I looked into it because, well, it’s a bloody strange thing to have an entire day for. It’s like the UK having Mars Bar Day or something.

As the big day drew closer the local convenience stores filled up with an incredible array of Pepero permutations – small Pepero, big Pepero, Pepero with cute cartoon characters drawn on them, loads of boxes of Pepero tied together in hearts. It sort of reminded me of all the Easter Eggs appearing around Easter, only it was one specific type of sweet, available only in 3 flavours.

Apparently Pepero Day was begun by a group of girls in Busan (South Korea’s southern city), taking place on 11/11 because the number one resembled Pepero themselves. This was because they wanted to become “Thin and slender like Pepero”. This in itself is pretty plausible, what with Korea’s obsession with the body beautiful, however it does seem slightly suspicious that this is the official story put forward by Lotte, manufacturers of Pepero and unofficial rulers of Korea (it’s actually a Japanese company, don’t tell any Koreans though, they’d be distraught). Allegedly the day grew in popularity to the point that Lotte saw a noticable bump in Pepero sales on 11/11, and did the humane thing and threw their weight behind it, satiating all of Korea’s rampant desire to eat a certain type of confectionery on a specific day.

Lotte also tried to introduce Pepero Day in Japan (Pocky Day there, obviously), but it failed miserably. Obviously the fact that it was home-grown Korean holiday invented by some honest-to-goodness Koreans meant it caught on better here. Honestly that’s how it came about. For real. Shut up. Stop laughing.

The nice thing about Pepero Day was I got given a shedload of Pepero by the kids, the bad thing about Pepero Day is that I don’t really like Pepero a huge amount.

In Swine Flu news our numbers are still down around the 60-70% mark at school, most kids have adopted stylish face masks to wear to and from school (although curiously not while they are in school, surrounded by hordes of coughing children). Here’s a little rogues gallery –

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