Today is Nov. 11, meaning it’s Pepero Day! For our readers who are unfamiliar with Pepero Day, it’s an unofficial holiday similar to Valentine’s Day observed in South Korea and is celebrated by exchanging boxes of the chocolate-covered cookie snack with friends, co-workers and lovers.
Here are five fun facts about the holiday:
1. Origin Story: “I want to be tall and skinny like a Pepero”
While the exact origins of Pepero Day are unknown, they are usually traced back to a 1983 tale of two female middle school students sharing a box of Peperos in hopes of becoming tall and thin. The two girls reportedly claimed that eating Pepero sticks on Nov. 11 at 11:11 A.M in exactly 11 seconds would make a person tall and slender, sparking a fad among schoolgirls in the Yongnam Area and skyrocketing sales.
Many South Koreans, however, are skeptical of this story and argue that the holiday date originated due to the snack’s shape resembling 1’s. Others claim that Lotte, the manufacturer of Pepero, invented the holiday as a marketing tool, but the confectionary company has repeatedly denied this allegation.
2. Pepero’s nine flavors
Photo courtesy of Lotte and The Korea Times
According to Lotte’s official website, Peperos are currently sold in nine different flavors: chocolate, strawberry, almond, peanut, white cookie chocolate, melon, nude (chocolate in the center), nude tiramisu cheese, and nude lemon cheese.
3. Premium Pepero Gift Sets
Photo courtesy of Cute in Korea
Every year it seems like Pepero Day packages become more extravagant. While a basic box can cost as little as 800 won (about 75 cents), premium gift baskets, which sometimes include plush animals, can go up to 55,000 won ($50). Grocery and stationary stores usually deck their aisles with colorful and impressive displays on the week of Pepero Day.
Since premium gift sets are expensive and often don’t taste very good, a popular trend among young students is to make homemade Peperos. South Korean department stores sell cute chocolate molds and icing supplies for low prices, making it very easy to decorate personalized Pepero sticks. Some decorators choose to go all out and make a Pepero cake.
Photo courtesy of 26.media.tumblr.com
5. Pepero Alternatives
There are two alternatives to celebrating Pepero Day for those who aren’t fond of the biscuit snack. Since Garaetteok Day, a holiday that commemorates Korean farmers, is also observed on Nov. 11, some Koreans choose to gift their loved ones garatteok, white rice cake, over a box of sweets.
Another alternative is packaging rolled up money in Pepero boxes, a trend that’s quickly becoming popular among older couples and husbands who don’t want to be seen carrying extravagant premium Pepero gift packages.
Photo courtesy of Cute in Korea
However you decide to celebrate (or not celebrate) this yummy holiday, we wish you a Happy Pepero Day!
Today marks the start of Chuseok, a three-day thanksgiving holiday, in which Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and hold ceremonial feasts with family members. Reuters reports that fake casts for pretending to have an injury to evade having to help with holiday meal preparation have become brisk sellers in South Korea since the run-up to the holiday.
A fake cast from an online shopping mall. (Photo Credit: Daily News Now)
“We have been selling this for 10 years now, but sales increased drastically starting last week,” said an anonymous sales manager at an online vendor. He added that both men and women were buying fake casts.
Chuseok is known to have a long history of gender divide, with men chatting and drinking while the women are hard at work, preparing and cooking elaborate traditional Korean dishes. As a result, many young women suffer from post-holiday fatigue that is commonly referred to as the “daughter-in-law holiday syndrome.”
According to the data from the Ministry of Gender, Equality, and Family in 2010, only 4.9 percent of the people surveyed admitted that both genders shared holiday chores, while the rest said women do most of the work.
“Although an increasing number of women are actively engaged in economic activities, a perception remains that only women are responsible for holiday preparation,” said Lee Na-Young, a sociologist at Chung-Ang University. “We need to try to understand that both men and women are equal beings in working and raising children in a family.”
It may be difficult to get away with the broken arm ruse at this year’s Chuseok since several media outlets have already reported about the popularity of the bogus cast. Who knows, maybe a new chore-evading innovation will come up in the market next year?
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Los Angeles police Monday night were investigating racist scrawls left with a marker and baby powder at a Korean church where a small fire broke out earlier in the day.
Officers initially responded to a possible burglary call at the Valley Korean Central Presbyterian Church in North Hills and found a toaster oven on fire in one of the buildings on the property, a law enforcement source told The Times.
Racial epithets were scrawled with a marker pen on the walls and written with baby powder on the floor of the building, according to the source, who asked not to be named because the investigation is ongoing.
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The owner of the Ventura Pierpont Inn has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection a year after signs of trouble emerged at the historic property.
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Appeals panel hears new science about arsons that could free man Fire Engineering
On Monday, a federal appeals court wrestled with Lee’s case – specifically, whether he should be given a new hearing to present evidence about the changed understanding of how fires burn, and whether he should be freed outright.
Defense attorney Peter Goldberger argued that Lee had been convicted only because of the testimony of fire investigators in Monroe County, and that their findings would not hold up today.
Jeremy Yamaguchi still lives at home, is active in the Boy Scouts and voted for the very first time just a few years ago.
He’s also -– at the ripe age of 22 -– the youngest mayor in Orange County, and perhaps the state, the Orange County Register is reporting.
Yamaguchi was named mayor of Placentia last week, the youngest person to hold the post in the city’s 85-year history. He was elected to the council when he was 19, serving alongside council members who’d known him since he was in grade school. He was the top vote-getter in that election.
The Cal State Fullerton senior is set to take finals this week, the LA Times reported.
Visiting Supernormal, Cheongdam-dong boutique located right off the main “luxury street” is like entering a young, very rich, very stylish celebrity’s walk-in closet.
Fashionably daring Korean celebs such as 2NE1, Choi Ji-woo and Lee Hyori frequent the relatively small store to stock up on the latest in interesting fashion, while Japanese travelers also descend in small groups on the weekends.
Since anything in the shop has already been through extremely fashion-conscious screening, we consulted the Supernormal experts about putting together a fabulous girlfriend gift guide. Here are 10 unique gifts for the impossible-to-please, impeccably stylish ladies out there.
Samsung has been the talk of the town on Tuesday for two reasons: the decision announced Monday to sell a big stake in an important affiliate to a Hyundai (yes Hyundai!) company and the list released Tuesday of annual promotions throughout the 60-plus Samsung companies.
As South Korea’s largest business group, Samsung is always the subject of a lot of attention, of course. But Tuesday’s chatter was particularly huge.
The calendar says 11/11/11, which means one thing in South Korea: Pepero Day. They call it Pepero Day because these skinny, chocolate covered biscuits resemble the numbers that make up the date 11/11. It’s huge holiday over there, with markets and convenient stores decked out with fancy displays and gift baskets of these snacks, a knock off of the more familiar Pocky brand. The concept is that you gift boxes of these confectionary treats to your significant other as a symbol of your affection.
Jonathan Gold’s 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011 L.A. Weekly
I like trucks, taco tables and pop-ups as much as the next guy, but I was really hoping to find evidence pointing to a resurgence in fine dining, powered by exposure to complex cooking on food television, and the vast numbers of people coming out of training programs like Cordon Bleu or the CIA. Alas, I did not.
Instead, when I looked at the new heroes of cooking in America, I kept seeing Lukshon’s Sang Yoon, Kogi’s Roy Choi and ramen-slinging David Chang of New York’s Momofuku: Asian-born guys classically trained in European techniques, working in great American kitchens, who decided to redirect their imagination toward street food. Their dishes have a directness of flavor, and their high-low juxtapositions still have the ability to shock, even in a world where pandan leaf and calamansi lime have become nearly as common as salt and pepper.
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The play’s preciousness can diminish its dramatic power, and this production doesn’t always find the edges. Cho tends to tell us things about feelings when we’d rather see them played out. Still, “The Language Archive” poignantly anatomizes the speeches and silence of love, requited and not.
Four Queens residents have been charged in federal court with submitting about $11.7 million in fraudulent Medicare claims from two medical clinics in Flushing.
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Lee Keun-ho and captain Park Chu-young scored late second-half goals to keep the unbeaten Koreans on top of Group B after four matches.
South Korea beat UAE 2-1 at home a month ago, but didn’t expect as hard a match as it got on Friday.
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Beyond tangerines and palm trees: Jeju’s unique culture Yonhap News
Every culture, by definition, is unique, and especially so is that of Jeju Island, a volcanic tourist attraction off the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula.
Jeju’s culture has developed over thousands of years as a result of its people’s relationship with nature, animistic religion and mythology.
The first place in the world to receive UNESCO designations in all three natural science categories, Jeju has its cultural foundation in the animistic belief among its people that the island is home to 18,000 gods.
Healthy Alternatives to Binge-Drinking a New Trend at Office Gatherings Chosun Ilbo
Getting pass-out-drunk on heady combinations of beer and soju is almost expected by Korean companies whenever work get-togethers are organized, but many corporations are bucking the trend by refocusing such events on healthier pursuits.
One company that handles publicity for food and beverage and apparels makers in Seoul found that its booze-drinking sessions were leaving its employees drained and unproductive. This prompted it to embark on a high-octane evening trip that let them vent their stress in other ways, such as by screaming their way through hair-rising roller-coaster rides.
“We often work overtime in the evening and the workers get really stressed out,” said the head of the company. “But when we are forced to attend company dinners, staff often complain that they get even more tired, so we decided to replace such gatherings with trips to an amusement park.”