Few things are more iconic and as commonly associated with Portugal as the Barcelos Rooster. But what’s the meaning of the colorful Portuguese rooster? There are various stories, each as interesting as the next.
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What Is the Meaning of the Rooster in Portugal?
I’ve been to Portugal a few times, it’s a wonderful place. There’s no denying, however, that the colorful everywhere. Especially in all of the tourist spots.
It’s often called the “unofficial symbol of Portugal”, and local businesses are happy as it does a lot of trade for them.
The ceramic or wooden ornaments are the most popular. I actually have one myself, but I seem to have misplaced it and couldn’t find it when I had a good look around yesterday.
You can also pick up clothes, towels, cards, keychains, and all the other tourist-type gifts with this rooster on. I find most people have seen it without being aware of what it represents.
The short answer as to what the meaning of this rooster is - It’s the embodiment of the Portuguese love of life!
Which is why it’s decorated with hearts and colorful markings. Personally, I think it’s perfect. Portugal is a beautiful country, and in my experience the people that live there are full of life and love.
The Story Behind the Barcelos Rooster
I’ve read a few accounts of what the story is behind this colorful rooster, and although I’ve found a few variations, the core story is usually the same.
As legend has it, back in the 15th century citizens of Barcelos were angered by unsolved crimes. They were scared to leave their houses, and wanted something done/someone held accountable.
Law enforcement ended up holding an impoverished pilgrim accountable. He pleaded his innocence, but was still condemned to hang for the crimes.
The pilgrim asked to talk with the judge. He was taken to the judge’s house, where the judge was eating dinner. The pilgrim pointed to a cooked rooster on the table that was to be eaten, and said it would crow when he’s about to be hung to prove his innocence.
The judge decided to keep the rooster to one side. Just as sure as the pilgrim said, right before he was about to be hung - the rooster stood up and crowed!
They spared the life of the pilgrim. He would later return to Barcelos and sculpted a cross at the site, which can still be seen today in the Archeological Museum of Barcelos.
Quite the story, right!?
What does the Barcelos Cockerel represent with Nandos?
I’m a huge Nando’s fan. So, it’s hard not to notice that they use a Portuguese rooster as their logo.
According to their story page, that rooster is called “Barci” and it’s their brand icon. They use this icon as an homage to the Portuguese explorers that sailed to the east and found the African Bird’s Eye Chilli - also known as Peri-Peri.
Peri-Peri is the flavor that inspired the owners of Nando’s to start the food chain. So, there you have it. That’s why they use the Portuguese rooster and what it means to them.
Are Roosters Good Luck?
There’s no doubt that a rooster is known to bring good luck in Portuguese folklore. As with most folklore, superstitions, and good luck charms, the meanings vary across the world though.
I’m not sure of the origin of this one, but having a rooster in the kitchen is believed to bring good luck.
If you fancy increasing your chances of receiving some good luck, it’s not difficult. Don’t worry, you don’t need a real rooster. There are loads of different kitchen ornaments, pictures, and so on with roosters on that will do the trick.
Portuguese Rooster Ornaments and Feng Shui
Roosters also play a huge part in bringing luck and good fortune according to feng shui. It doesn’t have to be a Portuguese rooster, either, any rooster ornament will do.
Just be sure to place a rooster on your desk facing the door to bring you good luck and wealth in your business. Or facing the door in any other room to “peck away” bad vibes and allow good ones in.
I hope you found this little bit of trivia and history interesting. Almost everyone has seen the Portuguese rooster at some point, whether they knew it or not.
I really enjoy the story and everything this symbol stands for. Not least because I’m a huge fan of roosters. And let’s be honest, they need all the fans and love they can get!
They make for cool kitchen ornaments either way.
Image credits - Photos by Scott Goodwill and Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash