It may be unofficial, the national animal of France is the Gallic Rooster. Also popular as the Coq Gaulois, the symbol is present in French flags at the time of the revolution.
Being a national symbol of France, the Gallic rooster had a start in a play between Latin words. The word “gallus” started it all. It means coq or rooster.
The rooster is ever-present since the olden times. It has been used for decorative purposes in the country’s bell towers. Its history even goes back to the Middle Ages.
At the time, however, the Gallic rooster may have been to symbolize vigilance. This is because of the crow’s vigilance of a new day. It is the only animal that crows at sunrise, expecting a new day to begin.
Over the years, the Gallic rooster was used by many artists. It has decorated many ceramics or has been carved on wooden furniture.
During the French revolution, the rooster had an important role. It became the official symbol during the July Monarchy as well as during the Second Republic. This was after it was seen as a part of the flags of the pole of regiments.
It was in the year 1830 when the Gallic rooster became the national emblem. This replaced the fleur-de-lis, which previously was in its place. Years later, it was again denied its place by Napoleon III.
Beginning in the year 1848, the Gallic rooster became part of the seal of the Republic. The seal was an image of Liberty sitting on a rudder. A rooster decorated the seal.
This type of seal was being used from the year 1899. It appeared as a motif on gold 20 Franc coins. It also had its various appearances on different stamps.
Aside from these, the Gallic rooster is also present in many of the country’s top sports teams. It is a symbol even in teams that compete in international events.
List of Contents
Why does the rooster symbolize France?
The Latin word “gallus” can mean two things. First, it means a rooster. It also refers to an inhabitant of Gaul. By a simple play of words, the Gallic rooster made its way to being France’s unofficial symbol.
France is popular for many things. First off, there’s the baguette. A bicycle is also associated with France. And so is a glass of red wine. And finally, the rooster.
All of these things conjure up an image of this romantic country, except for the rooster. What is quite unexpected is that the Gallic rooster is an unofficial emblem of the country. It is not only a symbol of France but a symbol of its people as well.
Should one go back, even ancient coins had the Gallic rooster in them. But even so, it was not recognized as a symbol of France, at least, not yet. It was only in later years when the rooster made its way to represent the country.
Even in the Middle Ages, the Gallic rooster was a popular emblem. At the time, it was for religious purposes. It was used as a symbol of hope and faith.
During the Renaissance era, it was again used by the slowly rising French nation. These are all widely seen all over the Louvre as well as in Versailles.
The Napoleonic Eagle
At the start of the revolution, the rooster was the symbol of France’s identity. It was years later when Napoleon replaced the rooster. The replacement was an eagle.
It is believed that the rooster does not possess any kind of power that made him replace it. He cannot accept that such an animal would be a representation of France.
But, the rooster, being the national symbol, has taken deep roots during the First World War. Patriotic feelings had the rooster return as France’s symbol. It was to symbolize resistance and bravery against the Prussian eagle.
The rooster has peasant origins. It is opinionated, proud, and courageous. These amazing characteristics are representations of the ideal French. And these, the French are proud of. So, rooster it is. It went back to being the national symbol of France, although unofficial.
Over the years, the rooster has also been used by many French business organizations. It has already been part of many branding initiatives. The most popular of these is Le Coq Sportif.
The Rooster Today
Despite its many hurdles, the rooster has remained as France’s symbol. It stood the test of time. Is it because of the rooster being relatable to the French? Are they really proud, courageous, and boastful, just like the rooster?
According to some, the rooster is the ideal emblem for France. This is because it still crows even when he is already standing in crap.
Today much can be seen of the rooster. It is a minor symbol of the Republic. But when it comes to the world of sports, the rooster is one amazing character.
The national football team wears shirts with a Gallic rooster in them. The emblem had been with the team for more than 100 years.
In fact, these teams even have a rooster mascot who attends all their games.
And speaking of mascots, when the 1998 FIFA world cup was held in France, there was a rooster mascot. It was named Footix. Twenty years later, when the Women’s World Cup was held in France, another chicken was made the mascot.
The 2019 mascot’s name was Ettie. Please take note that it was in a smaller case. Why it was in a smaller case, a lot do not know. But one thing that was revealed was that Ettie was Footix’s daughter.
The Rooster in Business Communities
The Gallic rooster also found its way into business communities. Some notable brands have the rooster as part of their symbols. Here are a few of them:
– Pathe is a French company that is in film production as well as distribution. The company’s logo contains a Gallic rooster;
– Ayam Brand is an Asian brand. While based in Singapore, the company was founded by a Frenchman. The company’s logo contains a rooster that adorns many of the company’s products. At the end of the day, Ayam in Malay is chicken;
– Le Coq Sportif manufactures sports equipment. It uses a rooster in its logo combined with the French colors. Also, Le Coq Sportif means athletic rooster. How quaint!
The Rooster in Homewares
Aside from the rooster being an emblem in sports and a lot more, the rooster is also a common décor. It is always seen in bake wear, homewares, and even in many furnishings.
For reasons unknown, having a rooster as a décor seems to provide your home with a country vibe. One such example is the HB Henriot Pottery Factory. The factory is in Quimper, Brittany. It was able to produce hand-crafted pottery artworks for more than 300 years.
The pottery pieces are painted with unique designs. But what makes the Quimper pottery famous are their Breton figures. Aside from these, they are also famous for their French cockerel pieces. Quimper also has antique pieces and sell at high prices at auctions.
The factory is open to tourists. Tours are being run inside the factory. Items, especially the rooster pieces, are also on hand and ready for purchase.
Truth be told, these roosters are just some of the many designs that are popular among tourists. Its popularity stems from its being associated with France.
What are the interesting facts of a Gallic rooster?
Gallic roosters are omnivores. This means their diet is composed mainly of seeds and insects. Larger prey like lizards and mice are also part of the Gallic rooster’s diet.
Baby Gallic roosters are called chicks. The females are called pullets. This is how they’re referred to until they grow old enough to lay eggs. By this time, we call them hens.
Being a national symbol of France, the Gallic rooster is one of the most popular in the country. It is found in flags during the revolution. It has decorated other important artifacts during and even after the French revolution.
Here are a few more interesting things about the Gallic rooster:
- The Gallic rooster’s national symbol of France is from a play of Latin words. The Latin word “gallus” means rooster. On the other hand, the word may also refer to a citizen of Gaul. France used to be called Gaul.
- While most chickens were domesticated for purposes of food, the Gallic rooster was not. This is the first domesticated bird to have it join cockfights. The Gallic rooster as the food was never a priority.
- Compared to the common roosters, the Gallic roosters are brightly-colored. They also have larger combs on top of their heads compared to those of hens.
- Their hens can lay up to about 240 eggs per year.
- These Gallic roosters can fly. But because they are on the heavier side, they can only go to as much as 60 meters. This equates to about 200 feet.
- The male roosters are more aggressive compared to females.
- The roosters do not have a reproductive organ. But they have an opening that is called the cloaca. The cloaca is not visible, though. The hens have a similar opening that is also called the cloaca.
- When mating, the rooster would move his cloaca near the hen. It is only by then that he deposits his sperm into the hen’s cloaca.
- After the ovulation, it only takes about 24 hours for the hen to lay the eggs. Also different from the Gallic roosters is that the eggs are laid whether or not it was fertilized.
- When it comes to keeping the hens safe, the responsibility lies on the rooster. The rooster should also make sure that the hens never go hungry.
- Roosters are popular for being nature’s alarm clock. It crows in the morning, just before the sun goes up.
- These roosters can fly. Although not so high, they can reach high enough to get past a fence.
- When a rooster finds food, he announces the discovery to everyone with a “took, took, took.” Interesting enough but the hens do not pay attention if she discovered the food first.
- Also, females prefer the males that perform the tidbitting. It looks like a dance that the males do. Also, females tend to choose males who have brighter and larger combs.
- A female can mate with any male she wants. In fact, females can mate with different males if she wants. Interestingly, though, the female can eject the sperm if she does not want the male’s offspring.
Are Gallic roosters used as a symbol anywhere else?
Aside from being an unofficial symbol of France, it also appeared in other parts of the globe. While not in France, the symbols still have their roots embedded in France’s long history.
Here are a few more times when the rooster was used as a symbol:
The Wallonia Rooster
The Gallic rooster was also used somewhere else aside from France. It was the symbol of the Walloon movement in 1913.
But instead of the crowing rooster, what was used at the time was a rooster that is raising its claws. This is popular as the Walloon rooster.
The Walloon rooster was made the symbol of Wallonia in 1998. Years before that, in 1991, it was also the symbol of the French Community of Belgium.
The rooster’s crowing sound differs from country to country. While it is cock-a-doodle-doo in the United States, it is different in France.
When in France, the crowing sound becomes “cocorico.” The cocorico sound refers not just to the crowing sound a rooster makes in the morning. Apparently, there is a far deeper use to the crowing sound.
Cocorico is also used as an expression of the French’s national pride.
The next time you are in a football game with the French, expect a lot of crowing from the stands. Indeed, the French are popular for always being so proud.