10 things to know about the Portuguese Rooster or Galo de Barcelos



It's the most famous cockerel in the world! The Barcelos Rooster is also known as the Portuguese Rooster or the Portuguese Rooster of luck. This clay rooster has become Portugal's non-official symbol and it stands for good luck, honesty, and faith. Maybe you have already seen it somewhere. But what do you know about it? In this post I will share some curious facts about the popular Barcelos Rooster, I show you the town where it was first made and invite you to know the legend associated with it. Then you can browse from a selection of gifts with designs inspired by the Portuguese Rooster. I hope you like the brightly-painted happy feeling about it! You can offer this rooster to everyone. It's a symbol of good luck. These colorful products are created by me but made in the USA by Zazzle.


1. This Rooster(Galo) is the national non-official symbol of Portugal.

2. The Rooster is known as The Portuguese Rooster, The Barcelos Rooster, or The Portuguese Rooster of Luck.

3. The geographic origin of the ceramic rooster is Barcelos, a town that belongs to the Braga District, in the north of Portugal. Barcelos means barca celi, small boat used to cross the local Cávado river.

4. According to different opinions the legend associated with the rooster was introduced in local folklore around the 16 or 18 century.

5. It is said that the rooster of Barcelos stands for honesty, faith, justice, and luck. For Honesty because the pilgrim in the legend was innocent and therefore God provided him a miracle. For Faith as the pilgrim had faith in God and so he was saved. Justice as the legend shows that people should avoid making judgments or accusations without enough proof. As for Luck, the rooster brought good luck to the pilgrim. 

A rooster is always a symbol of good things - the rooster sings to announce the new day, and the rooster is present on the top of high buildings (weather vane), and tells us the direction of the wind blow.

6. There's a cruzeiro - a stone cross- in Barcelos with a carved rooster and a hanged man. It's called Senhor do Galo and it dates from the 17th century. Now it's kept in the Archeological Museum of Barcelos.

7. The rooster's design and shape changed from time to time. Since 1960 the design seemed to stabilize. Today the traditional Portuguese rooster has a round tail with serrated triangular cuts on the edge; a pedestal usually painted green or blue from where he stands; yellowish legs; the beak is medium size, straight and rounded, usually painted golden or yellow as the eye and earlobe-holes. The large half-circle wings have a particular angle. The background color is usually black, sometimes red, cream or blue-gray. Roosters are floral-decorated, they have white or colored spots and heart-shaped motifs.

8. During the Estado Novo (New Regime, 48 years of authoritarian regime period that ended with the Carnation Revolution in 1974) the Galo de Barcelos became an icon of national tourism and the identity of a nation. António Ferro was the intellectual in charge of the Secretariado de Propaganda Nacional (SPN), the national propaganda bureau of Salazar, the dictator. He created a contest named The most Portuguese village of Portugal and thought about the rooster as the prize. But then he had a better idea. In his perspective, the rooster could become the symbol of Portugal, back then a rural country of submissive but creative people. Well, he made it.

9. The Barcelos Rooster became a source of inspiration for many Portuguese designers. It's possible to find lots of different designs for the rooster's surface. Besides the traditional ceramic rooster, other materials have been used by artists. This traditional piece of folklore art was thus reinvented and transformed into a modern decorative object.

10. Some Portuguese dislike the Rooster, they find it kind of corny. I have always been fond of the Portuguese Rooster and this December I decided to show some illustrations about the Rooster's Christmas. 


Visit A Portuguese Love Store for more gifts inspired by Portuguese pop culture and traditions.
Thank you!


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