How Barcelos Got Its Famous Cockerel

As they don’t just crow at dawn. They can crow throughout the day, or hardly at all. In Portugal the “cock a doodle do” saved the life of a pilgrim, who had proclaimed shortly before;

‘It is as certain that I am innocent

as it is certain that this rooster will crow when they hang me’

Even if you have not heard this remarkable Portuguese legend before, it wouldn’t surprise me if you have come across the Galo de Barcelos in a guidebook or someone’s house. They can be found throughout Portugal on chimneys, in ceramics and even on tea cloths. Bizarrely (now that I think about it) he is shown as he was pre-dinner table, or perhaps when he crowed to proclaim the pilgrim’s innocence he regained his feathers as well as saving a man’s life!

63 thoughts

  1. I agree, cockerels can be very untimely. Once, the people I was sharing a house with installed three miniature ones underneath my bedroom window. It was summer, so dawn came early. They woke and took it in turns to crow for the next few hours – it seemed like there was a loud, long crowing noise every other breath. Luckily there was room to relocate them somewhere else.

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