2017-02-16 / News Briefs

Portuguese Symbol Meets Irish Parade

Over the past several years, the buttons shown off at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Fundraiser have been the brightest baubles on the beams.

This year’s offering may be the brightest yet, and the most intriguing .

Adorning the 61st annual parade’s button is the image of a magnificent, buttoned-down Portuguese rooster, in honor of 2017 Grand Marshal Claire Dias.

The flashy green, red, white and black button is the symbol of the Rooster of Barcelos (“Galo de Barcelos”), one of the most recognized symbols of Portugal. The colorful and bold rooster can be found in many Portuguese homes, restaurants, bakeries and inns, and is said to stand for qualities such as honor, fairness and virtue.

The small town legend varies and has changed over the last six centuries. Basically, according to many online sources, during a celebration in the 1500s, a theft occurred and something precious was taken from a wealthy landowner. At the same time, a man (often thought to be a pilgrim) was passing through the city of Barcelos near the landowner’s celebration and was immediately accused of being the thief.

The man begged to speak with the judge in charge of the case. When they met, the judge was in the middle of eating a plate of roasted rooster. The man made pleas, none of which the judge believed.

He then grew tired and upset and simply stated that if he really was innocent, the dead rooster sitting on his plate would crow right before his death. At this time, the judge set his plate aside and ordered the man to be hanged.

Sure enough, minutes before the man was set to die, the rooster sat up on the judge’s plate and began to crow. Realizing his mistake, the judge ran to the place where the man was to be hanged and was relieved to find him still alive.

It is said that the man was then set free, only to return years later to build a monument of a large rooster to God for sparing his life. To this day, the symbol is said to bring luck and honesty to all who have one.

The button, for sale and on display, may be viewed at O’Brien’s Pub, 501 Thames St., on Sunday, Feb. 19, from 1–4 p.m. The admission cost of $25 includes food, drink, and Irish step dancers from Clan Lir Academy. Music is by Rhode to Dublin. Proceeds will benefit the parade.

–James Merolla

Return to top