Have you ever walked into a house you've never visited before and come face to face with a colorful porcelain rooster?

Chances are whoever owns that house is Portuguese.

Whether you’re full-blooded or just a little bit Portuguese, the Barcelos Rooster symbolizes unity, authenticity and good luck. Let me explain why.

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I've heard the tale of the Barcelos Rooster before, but I recently came across an interesting website that simplified it.

According to We Are Portugal, hundreds of years ago a pilgrim traveling through the city of Barcelos on his way to Santiago de Compostela was wrongly accused of a crime and sentenced to death. He insisted upon his innocence, though no one believed him. One day, while facing the judge, who was about to eat a cooked rooster, the man claimed the rooster would crow at his execution, proving him right.

The judge and others mocked him, but sure enough, as the pilgrim was about to be hanged, the cooked rooster crowed. Realizing his mistake, the judge saved the pilgrim.

From that day forward, the Barcelos Rooster has been a powerful symbol in Portuguese culture. Whenever I come across one of these roosters, including the new one in downtown New Bedford, this story will come to mind.

Viva Portugal.

Kelly Pavao contributed to this report.

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