The National Symbol of Portugal - The Barcelos Rooster

Posted on July 5, 2011 at 8:44 AM

Because Silmar's is getting tired of explaining that our rooster is not based on some high Street Portuguese Food chain, but it is inspired on the National Symbol of Portugal - Galo de Barcelos ( Barcelos Rooster) - Symbolising honesty, integrity, trust and honour and it is also believed to bring good luck, here it is a bit of history around this famous tale:

The town of Barcelos is celebrated for its pottery, handicrafts and earthenware. One of the most typical baked clay items is the renowned rooster of Barcelos, with its crest well reared up and with its spurs standing out and which had became the national symbol of Portugal symbolising honesty, integrity, trust and honour, and it is believed to bring good luck based on a national tale.

The origin of the cult of the rooster can't be pinned down with accuracy, but people at Barcelos keep worshipping the rooster, and an ancient legend has been passed on from generation to generation.

Once upon a time the inhabitants of Barcelos were quite alarmed with a crime, and this was even more alarming when they couldn't discover the criminal. One day a stranger from the neighbouring Spanish province of Galiza, appeared in the village. Suspicion fell on him at once.

The authorities resolved to seize him and in spite of all his oaths of innocence nobody believed the stranger. Not one villager, and no one in authority, could believe that the man was on his way to worship St Tiago, the patron saint of a nearby town. Finally the hapless stranger was condemned to death by hanging.

As a last request before his execution, he asked to be brought once more into the presence of the Judge who had condemned him. The request was granted and they lead him to the residence of the magistrate, who was just banqueting with some friends. So you are innocent, are you?” laughed the judge. “Yes Sir, I am. Before God, I swear it” answered the stranger.

“Ah, but you have been accused and sentenced to death, and I can’t change the sentence on just your word without proof. How do you think you can prove your innocence, my good man?” “But Sir, I swear that I am innocent,” the man insisted.

He looked around the banquet room in desperation, seeking some way, some help. His eyes fell on a servant carrying in a large platter of fowl, steaming with seasonings. He fell to his knees.

“Lord God,” he prayed, “as Peter, your servant, denied you at the cock’s crow, would that you show my innocence as your humble servant by this rooster’s crow…” so he said “If I am innocent, this rooster will crow three times.”

All eyes turned to the platter of steaming cooked fowl and widened in wonder and amazement as the rooster got up, ruffled his feathers and crowed loudly.

“The Lord has indeed spoken,” the Judge said in awe, and rising to his feet, he proclaimed, “Let this be a lesson to each of us never to sit in quick judgment of our fellow man. The rooster, henceforth, shall be a reminder to us and to our children after us, of this, the Lord’s message. So shall it be in our land forever!”

To this day the Galo de Barcelos is the national symbol of honesty and can be seen in most of Portuguese households and numerous variations of the registered Barcelos clay Rooster are often used to identify Portugal: Football teams, tattoos, clubs, restaurants, cafés logos are just some of the examples, and because Silmars taste is all about the Portuguese Homestyle Cooking... we are very proud of our National Symbol too!



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Reply Paula
5:09 PM on September 3, 2011 
Nice explanation!Enjoy the post. Waiting for more to come :D
Reply Mary Cooper
12:46 PM on January 11, 2014 
I understand that there are a few rules also that come with the rooster. First, you must receive it as a gift. And second the tail of the rooster must face one of the doors to the entrance to your house.