A Series of Quirky Days to Celebrate in Korea

Written by Cho Namhee

 

Everyone has circles to mark on their calendars to remember and celebrate important and meaningful days, including birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and other special days, such as Christmas and New Year’s Day. Some special days for celebration belong to different groups of the world, whether of nations, religions, or cultures. For this month’s issue, we will discuss “Pepero Day” on November 11, a quirky day for the annual exchange of Peperos, or chocolate-coated cookie sticks, and the 14th of every month.

Pepero Day (November 11th)
When Lotte Confectionery Korea introduced their first Pepero (빼빼로) sticks in 1983, its long and slim appearance attracted middle school girls in the Yeongnam area, also known as Gyeongsang-do, the southeast region of the peninsula, to stores to buy and share them with other schoolgirls in hopes of becoming more slender in figure. Ever since then, the Korean confectionery giant has focused more on its marketing strategies of promoting the snack as a symbol of November 11, since the date resembles four Pepero sticks in a line (11.11). The chocolate sticks have now become so famous that they are celebrated across the nation regardless of gender or age, and it remains as one of the most successful marketing strategies in Korean history. Look for the closest store around you to get the packet of snacks on November 11. Be careful to avoid the various imitations and fast-selling signature packets, because the real stuff, the original and almond-coated, sells like hotcakes!

The 14th of Every Month

  • January 14: Diary Day – Mark the special days in a brand new diary (appointment book).
  • February 14: Valentine’s Day – For females to show their love to their boyfriends/husbands.
  • March 14: White Day – For the males to show their love to their girlfriends/wives. (Men are expected to give back three times the value of what he received in the previous month.)
  • April 14: Black Day – For those without partners to have jjajang-myeon, black bean paste soup (a cheap Chinese restaurant menu item).
  • May 14: Rose Day – For males and females to give each other roses. (Males commonly give more to their sweethearts.)
  • June 14: Kiss Day – Self-Explanatory. (Lipstick and breath mint product sales are up on this day.)
  • July 14: Silver Day – Silver accessories are exchanged. (A time for moving relationships to the next level.)
  • August 14: Green Day – A time to escape to the forest from the scorching heat. (Often bottles of soju are consumed.)
  • September 14: Photo Day – Time for taking a special or official photo at a portrait studio.
  • October 14: Wine Day – Time to share a glass of wine with that special someone.
  • November 14: Movie Day – Time to go see a movie with a special friend.
  • December 14: Hug Day – Exchange gentle but firm hugs to wrap up the year.

There are more special days influenced by marketing, such as Pork Belly Day (Samgyeopsal Day) on March 3, O-Sam (5.3) Day for cuttlefish (ojingeo, 오징어) and pork belly (samgyeopsal, 삼겹살) on May 3, and Gugu (9.9) Day (the sound of chickens clucking) on September 9. But note that you can always have these food dishes on any day you choose.

Special days may be important to keep; however, let’s not forget that our sincere hearts and feelings come first.

The Author
Cho Namhee currently studies communication at Chonnam National University.

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