Junk food backpack in Korea (과방)

Have you seen photos of Korean school girls carrying packages of junk food shaped and worn like backpacks? I haven’t seen one personally but I saw a few photos online like the one below:

And here’s one article that seems to say it’s becoming a trend: Junk food backpack craze.
Looking at the photos from the article would suggest that these junk food backpacks are not an everyday treat. In fact, I doubt that school kids would have the means to buy as many packs of junk food to make a backpack. One of the photos in the article says “Congratulations – Graduation”. Most of the photos I’ve seen online says that they are given as presents.
Here’s a photo of Minah of Girls’ Day wearing a package of junk food…

Minah wearing a junk food backpack.
Minah wearing a junk food backpack.

Birthday present…

Why would people give junk food backpacks as birthday presents? It’s cheap and one could share with friends. And it’s not an everyday fare for many. Oh I’ve seen the faces of many kids here light up when they are given even just a piece of candy ~ especially at their after school classes.
So what do they call the junk food backpack? According to this netizen:

junkfood (과자 or kwaja) + bag (가방 or kabang) = kwabang 과방

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