Wednesday February 13th 2019 | Porto

Portuguese Rooster

Why is the rooster one of the symbols of Portugal?

Portuguese Rooster


This is one of the classic questions asked by travellers who accompany us on our Porto tours. Therefore, besides solving it during all our tours, we are going to answer it here.

The famous Portuguese rooster is the rooster from Barcelos, a city located in northern Portugal. This place is in the middle of the Camino de Santiago, the Portuguese road leading from the south of the peninsula. Legend has it that a pilgrim heading for Compostela was accused in Barcelos of a crime he did not commit. The pilgrim was taken to the judge, who was eating a rooster at the time, in his defence, said: "I am innocent, and to prove it God will save me with a sign before I am hanged, the rooster will come to life and start crowing." The judges and the local people did not believe him and took him for a fool, so they sent him to the gallows. But just before he was hanged, the rooster rose and crowed. As one would expect in those days, this event was interpreted as a miracle, and the rooster of Barcelos became more and more famous with time.

With the advent of humanism, religion gradually lost its power and many of the religious beliefs and miracles were forgotten or lost credibility. However, Portugal had always been a very Catholic country, and Catholicism was imposed again during the Salazar dictatorship. Through a dictator who had studied theology, Christianity and its values and traditions returned to the political and social front. Thus, both the trips to Fatima and the symbol of the rooster became almost national symbols and a matter of identification for foreigners. But all that they were being a religious legend since the rooster has no historical symbolism.

After solving the mystery of the rooster, interestingly very similar to the legend of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, we are waiting for you under the green umbrella to discover new anecdotes during our free walking tours.

Tags: english , history , Porto