The rooster of Barcelos

The 16th century Calvary, kept in the Museum of Archeology of the city of Barcelos, is associated with the curious legend of the rooster of Barcelos, symbol of this city.

Barcelos rooster

Rooster of Barcelos

According to this legend, one day a crime was committed in this village. However, the culprit was not found, and the inhabitants of Barcelos were intrigued by this. This story preoccupied and terrified them.

One day a man from Galicia appeared in the city, on whom, for some unknown reason, suspicion immediately fell. The authorities arrested him without evidence. The man protested in vain and proclaimed his innocence, nothing helped.

No one wanted to believe that this man was going to Santiago de Compostela to fulfill a wish, because he was a fervent worshiper of the saint who was venerated in Compostela, as well as Saint Paul and Our Lady. The man was condemned to be hanged!

As he was being led to the gallows, he asked to be brought before the judge who had condemned him. Permission was granted and taken to the residence of the magistrate, who was having a banquet with some friends.

The accused again affirmed his innocence and in front of the incredulity of the assistants, he showed a roast rooster which was on the table and exclaimed: <>.

This statement only provoked bursts of laughter from the whole audience; but no one touched the roast rooster, which therefore remained whole in its dish. The man was then dragged to the gallows.

And what seemed impossible happened! As the pilgrim was about to be hanged, the roast rooster stood up on the table and crowed. The judge and his guests stood dumbfounded. No one any longer doubted the innocence of the condemned man. The judge ran to the gallows and what was his amazement when he saw the poor man with the noose around his neck, but the knot absolutely refusing to tighten!

He was freed immediately and sent back in peace. A few years later he returned to Barcelos, where he erected a monument in homage to the Virgin and Saint James.

Portugal adopted the Barcelos rooster as its symbol, no doubt because it symbolized a moral, optimistic and just story.