Title

The Chocolate Egg and the Diamond Ring: A Contemporary Legend from Perugia, Italy

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

The Journal of Folklore Research

Volume

45

Publication Date

2008

First Page

63

Last Page

84

Abstract

This legend describes how a romance goes awry when a young man proposes marriage by having a diamond engagement ring placed inside the hollow chocolate egg he gives his sweetheart for Easter. I first describe my attempt to discover the origin of the narrative and then I reflect on the reasons for its contemporary popularity. I find the reasons to be rooted in this legend's seamless combining of local Perugian symbols with several layers of folklore, some of it local, some of it generally Italian and European, and some with origins in pre-contact Central America. Reflecting on these layers of folklore and how they make the legend succeed increases one's appreciation for the complexity behind and within a brief and apparently simple example of a contemporary legend.

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