Today is Pepero day! Pepero is a sweet-ish cookie-stick dipped in chocoloate- some of them are dipped in other flavors like almond, strawberry, cookies n’ cream, etc. Pepero day is rather like Valentine’s Day, in that people give chocolate and candies to loved ones. As if Korea wasn’t couple-oriented enough. Originally though, Pepero Day was a day when people exchanged pepero as a way of wishing that they would grow tall and thin. According to Wikipedia, “The fad spread with the idea that, for maximum effectiveness for height and thinness, one must eat 11 packets of Pepero on November 11, 11:11am and 11.11pm at 11 seconds exactly.” Because the best way to grow tall and thin is to give each other cookies dipped in chocolate, apparently. Pepero Day is November 11 because 11/11 looks like thin lines like pepero or thin people.
My first Pepero Day in Korea, I didn’t get any pepero. Feeling a little sad that all my students had forgotten to give some to me, I headed home from school. I met one of my students in the hallway, and she was carrying an armload of pepero. She beamed at me and said “Teacher, my boyfriend give many pepero!”
“Yes, I see that.” I said. “You must be happy.”
“Teacher, you have pepero?”
“No,” I said “I didn’t get any pepero.”
“No boyfriend?” she asked, in a tragic tone of voice.
“No, boyfriend? No pepero?” She said, as if it was the saddest thing she’d ever heard.
“No, no boyfriend, no pepero.”
She considered this a moment, and then handed me a box of her pepero.
“I love you teacher!” she said “fighting!”
That’s right, my first year in Korea, I got pity pepero.
In general, despite all the myths about pepero making you tall, or a way of wishing others grow tall and thin- most people believe that pepero day was invented to sell more pepero. If, however, it’s true that pepero makes you taller and thinner, I should probably avoid it.