Portuguese Legends

Portuguese Legends

Today, Portugal is widely regarded as a quiet place of vacation, a spot with warm weather, beaches and the wide blue waters of the Atlantic. But, as is the case with most European countries and with Indo-European cultures, Portugal has stories to tell. How about a discussion about the most popular Portuguese Legends?

If you have ever been to Portugal, you might have seen the abundance of rooster handicrafts and artifacts. If you ask the locals, they might tell you the story of the Barcelos Rooster, the miraculous animal who saved the life of an innocent man wrongly sentenced to death and went on to become the symbol of the country.

Legend has it that a pilgrim who was crossing Barcelos on his way to the shrine in Santiago de Compostela was unjustly accused of stealing silver from the master of the lands and sentenced to death by hanging. The man prayed to the Virgin Mary and to Saint James, asking for justice. The judge who was just about to cut his roast cockerel asked for the rooster to rise from the plate as proof of the man’s innocence. Guess what happened next? That’s right, the rooster did awaken and started to crow! The pilgrim was acquitted and allegedly returned to town many years later to carve the Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galo, currently featured in the Barcelos Museum of Archeology.

Other mythical stories and legendary creatures people the imaginary of the Portuguese. One of them is the Adamastor, a Greek-like mythical creature that rose to prominence along with the work of the national Portuguese poet, Luis de Camoes. In his work, Os Lusiadas (1572), the Adamastor is presented as a symbol of the magnificent powers of nature that the Portuguese navigators were forced to face in the great age of discoveries.

Find out everything in your next Lisbon tour!