Rooster of Barcelos

Discover fascinating facts about this colourful cockerel.

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine August 2015

Legend:

  • The story goes that in medieval times in the city of Barcelos, a Galician pilgrim was accused of robbery. He claimed to be innocent, but nobody believed him. As he was about to be hung for his crimes, the man pointed to a roasted cock on the banquet table and told the judge: “It is as certain that I am innocent as it is certain that this rooster will crow when they hang me.”
  • And yes, just as the pilgrim had the rope put around his neck, the dead rooster somehow got up and crowed, thereby proving the pilgrim’s innocence. The Galician man was freed and sent off in peace. Later, he returned to Barcelos to build a stone crucifix in honour of the Lord of the rooster.

Variations:

  • dead rooster that miraculously intervenes so an innocent man isn’t sentenced to death, there are many variations.
  • The most common ones involve: stolen silver, a greedy inn owner who falsely accuses the man, a rooster that already crows before the guy is even sent to the gallows, and a father and son who travel together (the son is accused and the father calls the rooster).

Barcelos:

  • Barcelos is a city and municipality in the Minho province in the north of Portugal. It’s famous for its handicrafts, especially pottery and ceramics.
  • The city is proud of its folklore: clay figures of the ‘Galo de Barcelos’, as the rooster is called, can be bought in all souvenir shops in Barcelos.

Symbol:

  • Over time the rooster of Barcelos has become one of the most famous symbols of Portugal. It symbolizes luck, integrity, honesty and honour. It is believed that having a ‘Galo de Barcelos’ in your house brings luck.
  • Nowadays the colourful cock (that’s mostly painted in blue, yellow, red, black and white) can be seen on all kind of touristy and household items, from fridge magnets to plates and from tea towels to pottery models.

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine August 2015

Posted in Typical Portugal.

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