The Legend of the Barcelos Cockerel

A 13th century legend tells the story of a pilgrim who on his way to Santiago de Compostela stopped in the small town of Barcelos, in Portugal. Here he was wrongly accused of theft, for which the penalty was death by hanging. The pilgrim only had his faith to call upon and he appealed to Our Lady and St James, the patron Saint for Protection, that justice be done. The pilgrim found the Judge that was to decide his faith just as the Judge was about to start eating a roast cockerel for this dinner and the pilgrim pleaded, “ If I am innocent, may that cockerel get up and crow!” The cockerel rose up immediately and crowed loudly. From that moment on the cockerel has become a symbol of faith, justice and good luck. It is also a symbol of Portugal and brightly coloured ceramic cockerels can be found all over the country.

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