Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tale of a Portuguese Rooster

So, yesterday in my FUN MONDAY post, I had a photograph which included a picture of my Portuguese Rooster. A few commenters asked for a close-up of that rooster, so I am happy to oblige.

Here, ladies and gents is my "Galo de Barcelos" (Barcelos Rooster):

The Barcelos Rooster has long signified good luck in Portugal. Every house should have one, as it brings luck into your abode. I had requested a small rooster from my grandfather on his last trip to Portugal...I wound up with this one instead...It is about a foot tall. That's my grandpa, when he gives...he gives!

I promissed a bit of the history of how the Rooster came to be the national symbol of Portugal, but I'll admit it here, I actually DID NOT KNOW the story myself. Some research on-line led me to some wonderful sites, each with slightly different versions of the same story. The gist of it is as follows (taken from here):

"This is the Galo de Barcelos, the national symbol of Portugal, symbolising honesty, integrity, trust and honour.

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.

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 neighboring 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…”

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 synbol of honesty."

Another fun site I found actually sells all sorts of Rooster paraphenelia, and will probably become a bookmarked site for me...they actually have a really cute cartoon version of the above story that you can watch. Check it out here.

So, there it is, the rooster story. Hope you enjoyed learning about it as much as I did.


Beckie said...

Well, now I have learned something new today - Thanks. Too cool!

Is yours made out of clay? That is really nice that it came from your grandpa.

MommaBoo said...

As I am not portugese, I'll just have to print out the pic and hang it on my fridge.

you think that'll work?

Thanks for sharing.....Now I want one, too!

Anonymous said...

Wow - now that was interesting.
Thanks for sharing & for visiting!
Frances who is waving at you from New York

Anonymous said...

Ok that was very interesting, and thanks for showing it up close like that. It's really beautiful and how nice your grandfather gave it to you.

Anonymous said...

Love this rooster, I am half portuguese and went to the acores a few years back. I had grown up with that rooster all over mine and my grandparents house, but I too had no idea what it represented. When we were there I was told the story and I couldn't help but laugh. I bought one for myself and a couple for my friends. Us portuguese are a strange people.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to find this story for abou 6 months now, as I've wanted to get the cockrel/rooster tatooed on me. Both my parents are Portuguese and I just think it represents such great things. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

you really helped me out on getting a tattoo idea i think it would be perfect also im 100% Portuguese so i think it would be a great way to support my love for Portugal and to show a lot of honesty to people thanks for the story!!!

Anonymous said...

LOL Oh No. It was mean't to be an original idea, a tattoo that not many people have grrr.
Please tell me you are not in Australia.. Sorry, but I have had this idea for years..

Unknown said...

Just loved your article. You can find the extended story of the Portuguese Lucky Rooster @ www.portuguesegift.com.
Loved your blog

Anonymous said...

thanks for the really lovely info!

I actually have a rather time-sensitive question...
I've had a painted good luck portuguese rooster in my kitchen for the last 2 1/2 years, but today as i was taking a pizza out of the oven i guess my hand flew up and the rooster got knocked over and broke. it's head broke off. rather a clean cut. kindof frightening. this seems like a bad omen to me...is there any way to negate the bad luck that might follow? or do you guys know of a place where I can get more info on this?

Lincolina said...

Hi Candid,
First of all thanks for sharing this tradition with us.
My boyfriend is half Portuguese and wants me to learn cook Portuguese dishes.
When I was looking for recipes online I saw that in every Portuguese kitchen they had a rooster.I like it. And that way my boyfriend can feel more at home. I told him I was looking online and he show me this one i realized that It was't not Any gallo.He just did not know the meaning he was going to ask his mom. But thanks to you I know what it means and motivates me more to buy one for my kitchen.