Milka [the Great{est} Dane]

sharing the colorful spots of my life…

The Legend of the Rooster of Barcelos January 15, 2012

Filed under: Portuguese Legends — Milka [the Great Dane] @ 12:17 pm

Hi there!


Time for another legend… Are you ready? 🙂


The legend of the Rooster of Barcelos is very ancient, from around the XVI century… And it’s probably the best known legend of Portugal.


Legend has it that the people of Barcelos were very alarmed because of a crime that had been committed and the criminal had not been discovered. People were very afraid.
One day a Galician pilgrim appeared in the area en route to Santiago de Compostela to pay a promise and stayed at an inn in Minho. As he carried a large knapsack and made little expense, the host, who was very greedy, gave the honoured stranger to the authorities, accusing him of theft.
The poor man, no one to defend him because he was a stranger in those sites, was sentenced to death by hanging.
As a last wish, he asked to be brought before the judge who had sentenced him. When he got to the judge’s home, His Excellency was feasting with some friends. The Galician came before him and told him, once again, he was innocent and, once again, nobody believed him.
So, in desperation, he noticed a roast chicken on a platter on the table, ready to be eaten, and said:
– It’s so true that I’m innocent that this rooster will sing when I am hanged.
Everyone laughed at the man’s claim, but decided not to eat the rooster. When the time came for the poor pilgrim to be hanged, the roasted rooster stood up and sang!
The judge went to the place where he was about to be hanged and released him immediately.


The people of Barcelos perpetuated their story by modelling simple clay roosters. And today, the rooster of Barcelos, of colored clay, is known even abroad and will make this legend live forever.



In addition to the tradition and also to perpetuate it, there is the statue of Our Lord of the Rooster, within a niche that is perched on a beautiful hill, right at the exit of Barcelinhos.



And now I’m curious… Once this legend is so popular even outside Portugal, have you ever heard of it or seen these clay roosters associated with Portugal? 🙂


Wondering slobbers,



One Response to “The Legend of the Rooster of Barcelos”

  1. Mom knew about roosters being associated with Portugal, but she never knew why. (And her being a medieval scholar. Or a scholar of medieval things – something like that! 😉 ) We love your legends – it makes Mom all giddy, and when Mom is giddy, she’s likely to take us on long walks and blather about All Things Medieval (mostly because we’ll listen, while Dad will only tolerate it for so long before turning on the sport channel!)

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

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