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Pepero Day Korean Valentine’s Day: A Guide

Hey everyone,

November 11th is upon us and, as I’m sure you’re all aware, it’s the day before my mom’s birthday. HI MOM! It’s also a very special day in Korea; it’s Pepero Day. Pepero Day is like Korean Valentine’s Day, not to be confused with Valentine’s Day in Korea which is also a holiday (2/14).

I know a lot of you are probably confused about how to celebrate this momentous day, so I put together this handy guide to celebrating Pepero Day…like a boss.

 

What is Pepero?

[quote]Pepero (빼빼로) is a cookie stick, dipped in compound chocolate, manufactured by Lotte Confectionery in South Korea since 1983.[/quote]

-Wikipedia

Pepero is delicious. It’s similar to Pocky, the Japanese chocolate covered cookie stick, but, don’t tell the Koreans that. It’s sold in 12 different flavors. Although, I have not tried all of the flavors yet, so far, White Cookie Chocolate is the best.

[unordered_list style=”green-dot”]

  • Regular Chocolate
  • Strawberry-flavored
  • Almond Chocolate
  • Nude (chocolate in the center)
  • Nude Lemon Cheese
  • White Cookie Chocolate
  • Hami Melon

[/unordered_list]

*This list has been unaltered and comes straight from the Pepero website.

pepero day bounty

Why is Pepero Day November 11th? Is there some historical significance?

Nope! Pepero Day is November 11th because 11/11 looks like 4 sticks of Pepero and that’s as good a day as any to celebrate chocolate cookie sticks.

Is Pepero Day only for lovers?

Every November 11th young couples purchase delicious Pepero snacks for their special someone and they exchange their snacks as romantically as possible. If your sweetie lives too far away from you to visit on Pepero Day, you can also mail them Pepero. You don’t even need to ship them in separate packaging. Pepero boxes come with a place to add a stamp as well as a short message. That’s right! So much Pepero is mailed around Korea that they designate a place on the box for a postage stamp.

pepero mail

In case you were wondering what living in the future feels like, it feels like this: chocolate candy sticks with stamps for mailing to lovers.

What if I love my sweetie more than other people love their sweeties? Is there a way I can rub it in their faces?

Absolutely! Pepero Day is a great way to gauge your love for others in the form of chocolate cookie sticks. Nicole got me a giant Pepero stick with a heart-shaped handle, similar to the handle on a shepherd’s staff, or crook, as I recently learned on Wikipedia. Since my Pepero staff, or crook, was far too delicious to photograph, I found this picture online to approximate my appearance on Pepero Day.

Pepero Day Giant Pepero

Halloween in Korea: Costumes and Mummies

Halloween is a whole different beast here in Korea. It seems to have spread to Korea through word of mouth and some sort of long-distance, cross-cultural game of “Telephone.” Some ideas came through and other ones clearly got lost in translation. In short, not many people dress up and there isn’t a lot of candy diversity, but let’s explore further!

Korea isn’t big on costumes

halloweenNoCostumes

As I said, Korea doesn’t really do costumes. Korea is a culture that embraces modesty; ladies aren’t supposed to show too much skin and they should never show their shoulders. This idea is in stark contrast to the western idea of scantily clad Halloweiners, I may or may not have just made that word up. Most of my fellow teachers didn’t dress up for Halloween or, if they did, their costume was limited to cat ears and/or a witch’s cape. My students opted for similar costumes, so I spent most of Halloween surrounded by cat witches.

dramatization of Jade's sweet costume

dramatization of Jade’s sweet costume

Since half of our students attend Monday, Wednesday, Friday and the other half attend Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, we celebrated Halloween on Wednesday and Thursday; October 30th and 31st, respectively. Lindsay, one of my fellow foreign teachers, dressed up as a Care Bear one day and a Librarian next. Conrad dressed up as a punk one day and Dracula the next day. I opted to go as a lumberjack both days with a pair of work boots and a giant construction paper axe. It was a great costume and my paper axe managed to keep my students in line. Jade, one of the awesomest Korean teachers at work, went as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and had an awesome costume complete with weapons.

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Halloween Festivities

holloween mummy

In the afternoon, my academy has younger students in elementary grades. We made little Halloween boxes with them and went trick-or-treating around the academy to other classrooms. During their last class of the afternoon, we had a mummy-making contest. This was one of the highlights of my day. Normally, our school looks down on wrapping the students in toilet paper and marching them through the hallways. I know because I checked my contract. It’s a big no-no in Korea. HOWEVER, on Halloween it’s perfectly acceptable, nay, its required.

Twice a day for both Halloween and Monday/Wednesday/Friday Halloween, I got to help my students cover one of their peers with toilet paper and turn them into a mummy. The younger kids loved it. I have a class of about six 8 year olds who look like the Korean Cabbage patch kids and they went bananas for it. We had a blast and covered one student, Dan, with enough toilet paper to stretch to Seoul and back (3.5 hours by bus…each way).

The older students were less enthused. They’re in that awkward teenager phase where practicing ancient Egyptian burial customs is considered uncool. I was disappointed because as the teacher, it’s usually a bad sign if you’re the most enthusiastic person in the room. I thought for sure they would love it since the middle schoolers’ only interaction with paper products is writing essays and using the bathroom between classes.

 

P.S. sorry for the delay in writing. More to come soon!