O Galo de Barcelos
(The Rooster from Barcelos)

O Galo de Barcelos is the unofficial symbol of Portugal. In any curio or tourist shop you will find the symbol represented by a ceramic rooster and in the motif embroidered in towels, aprons, stamped on key chains, paper weights, etc. Because of its lively colors, the Rooster of Barcelos is difficult to miss where ever it appears. The motif seems to embody the love of life displayed by the Portuguese people.

The symbol has its genesis in the history of Barcelos. The city of Barcelos is located just east of Braga. Even though it is not on a major highway, it still is a good sized city. The legend of the Rooster is so old that no one knows for sure its real source. There are serveral versions of the legend. The version below came from post cards found in a tourist shop on the Ribeira in Porto.

Portuguese Version

Num banquete dado por um rico proprietário de Barcelos, foi roubada uma peça valiosa de prata e um dos convidados foi acusadodo crime. Foi julgado e culpado pelo tribunal. Apesar das provas evidentes contra ele, reclamou sempre a sua inocência. O Magistrados deu ao acusado uma última oportunidade de se justificar. Vendo um galo dentro de um cesto perto dele, disse: “Se eu estiver inocente o galo contará”. O galo cantou e o prisioneiro foi libertado.

English Version

At a banquet given by a rich landowner in Barcelos, a valuable piece of silver was stolen and one of guests was accused of the theft. He was tried by the court and was found guilty. In spite of the overwhelming evidence against him, he still protested his innocence. The magistrate granted the man a final chance to prove his case. Seeing a cock in a basket nearby he said, “If I am innocent, the cock will crow.” The cock crowed and the prisoner was allowed to go free.

Feira in Barcelos
Feira in Barcelos with many galos for sale