Lifestyle See and do

A story of the “Portuguese Rooster”

Written by Yuci Tai

Coming to Macau – a place that combines Chinese and Portuguese cultures – you will find the well-known traditional meal of Portuguese Chicken, but there is in fact another “Portuguese chicken” worth noting. Browsing around the many souvenir shops, you might find a colorful “Portuguese Rooster”, its body painted with a big red heart which represents justice and kind-heartedness. These roosters come as all sorts of things such as key chains, bottle openers, tiles and more. The rooster is pre-eminent in Portuguese people’s minds and a lot of magical stories are behind it.

So what is the history of the “Portuguese Rooster”? Its birthplace is Barcelos, a town in northern Portugal, where the story goes that a pilgrim from Galicia, on the way to Santiago, was taken as a thief by mistake and sentenced to death.

Before his execution, he met the judge who was about to have his dinner and pointed to his rooster on the table. The pilgrim growled, “If this rooster stands up and starts crowing, it proves I am innocent!” The people all thought he was crazy, but suddenly the very fragrant rooster shook its body, stood up and crowed loudly. The pilgrim was immediately acquitted and escaped the grim reaper.

Afterwards, the story spread throughout Portugal and the rooster in became a symbol of justice, trust, and good luck. While visiting Macau, be sure to look carefully – you might be surprised to find this “Portuguese Rooster” living in many different corners of Macau.