One of the most recognizable symbols of Portuguese Culture is the “Galo de Barcelos”, the Back Rooster figurine.
The traditional figure can be found in many forms like Postcards, Magnets, Clay figurines and usually comes in black color adorned with colorful arrangements.
His story is part of the Portuguese folklore where in a certain day, in city of Barcelos, appeared, following a streak of robberies, a Galician who became suspicious. The authorities decided to arrest him and, despite their oaths of innocence, nobody believed that he was simple a pilgrim on its way to S. Tiago de Compostela to fulfill a promise: it was ardent devotee of the saint who is venerated at Santiago de Compostela, like St. Paul and Our Lady. So, he was sentenced to hang.
Before being hanged, he asked to be brought before the judge who had sentenced him. Granted permission, taken to the residence of the magistrate, who at that time was feasting with some friends. The Galician again stated his innocence and, to the amazement of those present, pointed to a roast chicken that was on the table and exclaimed:
– “It’s so right I am innocent, how certain is this rooster crows when I hang”.
Laughter and comments did not wait, still, nobody touched the rooster.
What seemed impossible become true! When the pilgrim was being hanged, the roasted rooster stood up on the table and sang. Nobody doubted the claims of innocence of the Galicia.
Immediately released, the pilgrim was sent alone.