Figurado de Barcelos is a form of popular art coming from the Barcelos region, in the Noerth of Portugal, having become one of the most distinctive symbols of Portuguese culture. This form of craftsmanship is characterized by hand-painted ceramic figures, often depicting scenes from rural life, historical characters and religious figures. One of its most popular themes is the Barcelos Rooster, one of the most iconic and recognizable figures of popular art in Portugal. This small sculpture of a multicolored rooster, often in vibrant shades of red, blue and yellow, has a rich history and an intriguing legend, captivating generations of Portuguese and foreign visitors alike. In this article, we will explore the legend, history and impact of this iconic national symbol over time.



The Legend of the Barcelos Rooster

The legend of the Barcelos Rooster dates back to the Middle Ages and tells the story of a Galician pilgrim who, on his way to Santiago de Compostela, stopped in Barcelos, a city in northern Portugal. At that time, the city was involved in a criminal mystery, and the pilgrim was wrongly accused of robbery and sentenced to death.

Before his execution, the pilgrim asked to be taken before the judge who had condemned him. This judge was about to enjoy a roasted rooster when the pilgrim was brought before him. The pilgrim asserted his innocence and pointed to the dead rooster on the judge’s table, saying that the rooster would crow as proof of his innocence. The judge, initially skeptical, ignored the request.


However, when the pilgrim was about to be hanged, the roasted rooster miraculously stood up and crowed. Surprised by the miracle, the judge rushed to the execution square and managed to prevent the hanging. The pilgrim was thus freed, and the rooster has become a symbol of justice and good luck ever since.



Cultural and Tourist Impact

The exact origins of the Rooster of Barcelos are uncertain, but it was the legend that contributed to its popularity. Thus, over the centuries, the rooster became an integral part of Portuguese culture, being represented in various forms of art, not only ceramics, but even weaving and painting.

The Barcelos Rooster plays a significant role in Portugal's cultural and tourist scene. Its presence is especially prominent during festivals and holidays, attracting visitors from around the world who want to experience first-hand the rich tradition and history behind this national symbol. During these events, it is common to see representations of the rooster in parades, decorations and traditional costumes, highlighting its ongoing importance in the daily lives of the Portuguese people.


Furthermore, the image of the Rooster of Barcelos can be found in a wide variety of contexts, from tourist souvenirs to emblems of local organizations and companies. The rooster has thus become a highly desired collector’s item, with gift shops across the country offering a wide variety of products, and with tourists and collectors purchasing multiple representations of the rooster as souvenirs of their visit to Portugal.

LoveitPortugal's Barcelos Roosters

Love it Portugal offers a wide variety of Barcelos Rooster pieces, some more traditional, others more stylized, but all charming! and from which we chose to refer to in more detail:


Traditional Rooster 36cm:

It is a traditional Barcelos rooster, worked and painted by hand, in faience, in black with details in red, blue and yellow. In addition to the 36cm model, several smaller models are available, the smallest of all being the 12cm high model.


White Barcelos Raised with Relief 28cm:

It is a figure from Barcelos, worked and painted by hand, in faience, in white with red hearts, therefore being a rooster that celebrates love. In addition to the 28cm model, we also have a larger model available, measuring 37cm in height.


Standing Rooster 38cm:

It is an Author's rooster from Barcelos, irreverent and stylized, completely modelled, worked and painted by hand, in faience, in black with details in red, yellow and blue, and measuring 38cm in height. We also have a larger version measuring approximately 50 cm in height. It is an excellent piece of decoration and very different!



Fat Rooster 30cm:

It is a figure of Barcelos with a round base, an author's piece, completely modeled, worked and painted by hand, in faience, in black with details in yellow and red, and 30cm high. We also have a smaller version measuring 22 cm tall and in black, red, yellow and pink. It is an excellent piece of decoration and certainly brightens up a home!



Final Notes

Shared and loved by local residents and also by portuguese people living all over the world, the Barcelos Rooster is more than just a simple decorative sculpture; it is a symbol of national identity, culture and tradition in Portugal.

Its captivating legend, its lasting presence in the daily lives of the Portuguese people, and its significant impact on the country’s cultural and tourist scene make it an undeniable icon of Portuguese national identity.,

Surviving the passage of time, the Rooster of Barcelos continues to inspire and enchant people of all backgrounds, keeping alive one of the most fascinating stories of Portuguese culture.