Anyone who has been visiting or traveling in Korea these past few days can’t help but notice all the displays filled with everything from candy to glitzy gift baskets, and even a few teddy bears thrown into the mix. What’s going on?
Koreans have not changed the date for Valentine’s Day, and it’s not some strange way to observe Remembrance Day. What it is and how it started seems to be up for debate, and there is more than a bit of folklore attached to this sweet weird and (somehow) wonderful day. If we can believe Wikipedia, this is what they say…
“The exact origins of this day are unknown.  The origins are usually traced to a news story set in 1983. In the story, two female middle school students in the Yeongnam region exchanged peperos to wish each other to become thin and tall. This story had been doubted as a legend without proof. Some argue that the origin was due to the shape of 1’s in the date (November 11 – 11/11) resembling peperos. While some attribute the similarity of shapes as factors that attributed to the popularity but not its origin.”
Today, it’s seen as a gimmick for retailers to bring in revenue after a booming Chuseok holiday season has past. Whatever the reason, Korean’s do enjoy the day. I can be a fun and inexpensive way to share a small gift with friends. That is, if you avoid the glitzy baskets and the cute teddy bears.
Pepero at its simplest is simply a biscuit shaped like a pencil, coated with chocolate. Who can resist, right?
The glitzy basket does it for some. Umm…I think I’d pass on this one. Although, I do think the “yellow guy” is awfully cute 🙂
Have you ever been in Korea during Pepero Day? Have you experienced a similar day elsewhere in your travels (besides Valentine’s Day)?
This my contribution to Foodie Tuesday, hosted by Marcia over at Inside Journeys.