11.11 is also Farmers’ Day

Most people in Korea and outside the country who are interested in anything Korean knows that 11.11 or November 11th is PEPERO DAY. Did you know that before Pepero Day, farmers have been celebrating this date as their own? So 11.11 is also Farmer’s Day here in Korea.

11.11 surely looks like 4 Pepero sticks, but how did 11.11 come to be celebrated as Farmers’ Day?

The Chinese character for 11 is

Chinese character for 11
Chinese character for 11

while the character for earth or soil is

chinese-soil

So the number 11 when combined looks like the character for soil or earth. And we all know that farmers work the soil or earth.

Farmers’ Day in Korea started in 1964 in the city of Wonju in Gangwondo. From 2003, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs has designated 11.11 or November 11th as “kare deok” day (Hangeul: 가래떡 데이) ~ 가래떡 or “kare deok” is the long rice cake that people love to eat roasted and dipped in honey. The government has been trying to promote this day as such instead of the Pepero that children like. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has also adopted this event to celebrate Farmers’ Day.

Korea celebrates Farmers' Day on November 11
Korea celebrates Farmers’ Day on November 11

The long sticky rice cake called “kare deok” looks like this:

 Photo from: http://www.etoday.co.kr/news/section/newsview.php?TM=news&SM=2203&idxno=503356
Photo from: http://www.etoday.co.kr/news/section/newsview.php?TM=news&SM=2203&idxno=503356

It is good eaten as it is… but I prefer mine roasted and then dipped in honey!

Source: http://pulmania.blog.me/220172286954
Source: http://pulmania.blog.me/220172286954

Others dress their rice cake like so:

Source: http://nanse.tistory.com/469
Source: http://nanse.tistory.com/469

We usually buy this long rice cake in January before “Seollal” or Korean lunar new year. We have it cut into thin slices and eat for “rice cake soup” or “deok guk”:

If you’re tired of Pepero, give this long sticky rice cake a try and celebrate the day for people who till the land so you and I can have veggies and crops on our tables.

Happy Farmers’ Day Korea!

P.S. 11.11 is celebrated as Singles’ Day in China 🙂

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