Make a wild guess — is Pocky Day a feast for those crunchy biscuit sticks partially coated in chocolate?

You got that right.

Surprisingly though, in Japan, its people pay homage to the famous chocolatey sticks brand known as Pocky by holding events, campaigns, and collaborations all to pay tribute to this well-known snack that has swept the world by storm. When is Pocky Day? This national day of celebration happens annually every November 11th — eleven, because it follows the shape of the Pocky sticks, 1-1-1-1-1… and there you have it. Did you just crave for them? Learn about the world’s famous snack (in case you are not yet a fan), its history, and ways on how it is celebrated, led by the company that made it, Glico.

Pocky And Its History

What is Pocky?

When you speak about these biscuit sticks coated in the frozen chocolate melt to provide the crunchy texture and flavor, most of the most popular brands are originating from Japan. Pocky’s half-sister and competitor brand Pepero by Lotte adapts a similar idea with its cookie sticks also covered in choco, except that they present a distinct roughness in the coat texture. Meanwhile, another relevant product, though not of the particular same kind, in the name of Yan Yan by Meiji follows the same ingredients for the biscuits but the chocolate comes as a dip in a separate container in the package. They all enjoy their own limelight on social media, earning several likes from different races around the globe.

Japan Today

“Pocky is about sharing happiness with friends, family, coworkers - anyone, anytime, anywhere! Just open a box, pass it around, and watch the smiles and happiness spread,” shares its official website. Consumers who want to get a taste of the snack do not have to fly to Japan only to find them since Pocky is available in various grocery store chains in different countries worldwide. It is manufactured by Glico in the very eye-catching red and white package sealed to maintain its freshness.

Prior to the official launch of the biscuit sticks, Glico had a product called Glico Caramel contained in a red-colored box in 1922, just a few years before the Second World War. Afterward, around four decades later, the company introduced Pocky. It has been said that the etymology of the term is an onomatopoeia for the snapping sound produced when one takes a bite at this snack. Then, the rest is history.

The first few years of Pocky’s existence had it formatted like Meiji’s Yan Yan, dipped in chocolate. The manual dipping was then replaced with what it is today, a favorite go-to snack by millions of people who have also become fans of the snack. However, its beginnings are preserved since the rationale behind the partial coating of the stick came from how the person only dips part of the stick and leaves the remaining portion plain for the grip.

Since then, the classic chocolate-coated Pocky grew to a variety of flavors that include Pocky Cookies and Cream, and Pocky Strawberry. It is a great snack to munch during office breaks, school recesses, or as a great garnish for cakes and ice creams. Have you tried having it with coffee?

Celebration Events

The National Pocky Day may be considered unofficial but what’s in the world when everything becomes special in Japan in celebration of the biscuits. There are games, there are concerts, there are social media events, and more in each year that Pocky continues to indulge consumers in many parts of the globe.

For instance, in 2016, Glico collaborated with the best event organizers to hold seven simultaneous activities to pay homage to the snack and they were held right in a popular landmark in Osaka, the Tsutenkaku Tower. In the area, there were huge streamers displayed around, participants graced the Golden Pocky Mystery Word Hunt in an adventure comparable to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and was lit with secret prizes, a special ring toss, free sampling, slot machines, the so-called Tsutenkaku-Jack or the hijacking of the towel by the Pocky sticks, and an interactive spot-the-difference room.

During the 2015 edition, National Pocky Day jived with music and dance group made up of pop stars from J-Soul Brothers2 and EXILE1 to promote the Pocky brand. They also headlined various commercials and danced signature moves inspired by the biscuits. Alongside, Glico also hosted a dance contest that followed their tagline “share happiness” and was known as the Sharehappi dance contest. The winners won ¥110,000.

Of course, this did not end with the jamming but Glico also brought the celebration online with a live-streamed event using the renowned app LINE, collaborated with Mamari for a website catered to moms and their babies, and also launched a photo campaign. Each year, there are several ways on how National Pocky Day is celebrated, just like Japan’s vibrant and diverse culture. What could be the highlight of Pocky Day 2019? It is still several months from now, so while we wait, we’re first going to indulge ourselves with some Pocky biscuit sticks. Happy munching!

Japan Centre