Galo de Barcelos – Portuguese Rooster

The Galo de Barcelos has become the national symbol of Portugal. It symbolizes  honesty, integrity, trust and honor, and it is also believed to bring good luck!

The Legend of “O Galo de Barcelos”

The legend has it that a serious crime had been committed in the small town of Barcelos, Portugal. Some believed that on the day of the crime, a Spaniard was passing through Barcelos on a pilgrimage and various circumstances pointed to his guilt. The accused Spaniard proclaimed his innocence, but could not present any proof in his defense. As a result, he was arrested and condemned to be hanged. The poor man continued to plead his innocence to no avail.

As a last request, he asked to be brought before the judge one last time. The judge was in the middle of dinning with his friends and again, in front of everyone, the Spaniard declared his innocence. “There is nothing I can do” replied the judge. The Spaniard, turning to the Saints of his faith looked over at an already roasted chicken that was on a platter about to be served to the judge and his friends, and cried, “As surely as I stand innocent, so will that rooster crow”. Everyone laughed, but then suddenly to everyone’s amazement, just as the man was being escorted to his execution, the roasted chicken turned into a tall standing rooster, and began to crow. The judge immediately permitted the Spaniard to be released and set free.

History and culture:

Since the end of the 19th Century, the legend of “The Rooster of Barcelos”, also known as “O Galo de Barcelos” in Portuguese, has lasted throughout time and has established itself in the history and culture of Portugal. The legend of “O Galo” is most commonly remembered and represented by a clay art piece that is in the shape of a rooster and colourfully painted (as shown above). The labour of making clay objects is a trade that has been passed down from generation to generation throughout the northern area of Portugal. The connection between the trade of clay making and the legend of “The Rooster” has matured into an extraordinarily strong relationship. In fact, now, the two things often go hand in hand.

It was around the year 1935 that the neighborhood of Galegos Santa Maria, Barcelos experienced the birth and creation of “O Galo de Barcelos”. It is widely known by many of the local inhabitants of the city of Barcelos that, with his hard working hands, his inherited skill, and through the inspiration brought to him by the original legend, Domingos Coto (the maternal grandfather of Eduardo Pereira) created the clay molded art piece.

Since then, this art piece has become a nationally recognized symbolic representation of the legend of “O Galo de Barcelos”. “O Galo” can now be found all over the country in local markets and souvenir shops. The continual existence of “The Rooster of Barcelos”, the art piece made of clay, paint and hard work, can be attributed to the important symbolic significance that the legend still carries in the hearts of the people of Galegos Santa Maria, Barcelos, Portugal. credits:

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