The upright, proud and happy rooster is a common sight in Portugal – in the form of colorfully painted ceramics of all sizes, on towels and aprons, even as a tatoo! The legend associated with the emblematic bird is quite a story.
Taking place in Northern Portugal’s Barcelos some 700 years ago, a pilgrim walking the Caminho de Santiago do Campostela, was accused of stealing and sentenced to the gallows. He pleaded innocent but accepted his fate, and told the judge that if the rooster, on the. menu to roasted for a banquet the same time of the hanging, got up and crowed, then the pilgrim was innocent. Sure enough that is exactly what happened, as the man was being hanged, a roasted rooster appeared, got up on the table and crowed – proof of a farcical sentencing. A rush was made to see if the pilgrim was still alive, who miraculously had been saved due to a faulty knot around his neck.
There are various versions, the above is shortened and my favorite. Portugal’s rooster embodies honesty, integrity, trust and honour and most importantly the Portuguese love for life. Visit Barcelos – a city known for handicrafts, that boasts a Thursday outdoor market in its very spacious square (with a multitude of rooster souvenirs to buy) and the ceramic olearia museum is a treat – with many caricatures of daily agrarian life, colorfully painted and made out of clay.
Some photos from a recent trip to Barcelos: