November 12, 2008
Yesterday was a very solemn holiday in Canada: Remembrance Day. We were surprised, though, to find a different holiday being celebrated here in Korea on the same day. Instead of honoring the soldiers that fell in war, Korea celebrates something known as Pepero Day. You may know Pepero as “Pocky” instead, the chocolate dipped sesame sticks that you snack on. In Korea they don’t call them Pocky at all, by the way, just Pepero. Anyhow, November 11th, if you look at the numbers, is 11/11, which some genius over at the Pepero factory suggested looks like four sticks of Pepero. The Pepero company capitalized on this idea, and declared that on this day everyone will give out Pepero Sticks. In Canada, we wear Poppies; in Korea, we eat Pockies.
Sure, that sounds silly, but the declaration actually stuck, and now everybody celebrates Pepero Day. Yesterday Simon received around eight boxes of Pepero from his students. Teachers gave pepperos to each other as well. The days leading up to Pepero had stores full of Pepero Sticks, Pepero stuffed toys, and Pepero gift baskets. In fact, when Simon bought a shirt at a clothing store, they gave him a free box of Pepero as well. Pepero Day is almost like Valentine’s Day, except it isn’t as demandingly romantic. Sure, you’ll give Peperos to your girlfriends and boyfriends, but your regular friends will be expecting them as well.
This ain’t no small holiday, as some people may believe, so we made a video to show you what some of the street stalls look like, and just how elaborate this day can get. Sorry we couldn’t post this sooner, but we went through a bit of a YouTube epidemic over the past two days, so we didn’t get a chance to put this up when we wanted to.