The legend of the Barcelos Cockerel


This tale dates back to the 14th century, and, like all legends, the details differ depending on who’s doing the telling. Here’s our version.

A pilgrim was passing through the village of Barcelos in Portugal when he was wrongly accused of theft. This was a serious charge for which a guilty verdict meant certain death.

The pilgrim was brought before the town’s judge, who was about to eat a roast cockerel for dinner. Feeling vulnerable in a strange village and knowing what his sorry fate might be, the pilgrim pleaded: “If I am innocent, may that cockerel get up and crow!”

No sooner had he spoken, than the cockerel got up and crowed heartily (well it is a legend!).

With that, the pilgrim was pardoned and allowed to go on his way.

Ever since, the Barcelos Cockerel has been a symbol of faith, justice and good fortune.