Pepero is a recent consumer holiday (The Lotte company only started making the stick cookies in the 1980s) with murky beginnings. The Lotte company's spokespeople state that they did not start the commercial holiday, but only capitalized on a schoolgirl trend of giving Pepero as gifts. Other sources claim the gift-giving started because the snacks resemble the date of 11/11.
Regardless of its beginning, Pepero Day is like a mini Valentine's Day where Pepero are the gifts of choice for young couples. But it's not limited to romantic gift-giving: friends, families, colleagues and businesses participate in the holiday too. Stores decorate, do promotions, and carry Pepero with fancy packaging and gift packs of the snacks for the holiday.
Pepero looks and tastes very similar to the Japanese stick snacks called "Pocky", which were first produced in the 1960s.