In Christian symbolism, the rooster is a familiar Passion symbol. Prior to being arrested by the soldiers, Jesus correctly predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed on the following morning. At the rooster's crowing, Peter remembered Jesus's words and "went out and wept bitterly" (Mat 26:75; see also Mat 26:34-75; Mk 14:30-72; Lk 22:34-61; John 13:38-18:27). The rooster represents Peter's denial of Christ and also stands for his remorse and repentance upon hearing the rooster's crow. Because Peter later became the leader of the early Church, the rooster represents papal vigilance.
In many cultures, the rooster's habit of crowing at the dawning of each new morning made it a symbol of the daily victory of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil. This habit, along with its fiery comb, made the rooster the symbol of fire; the sun; and Christ, the light of the world, who announces an end to spiritual darkness and despair. In the Far East, the rooster was painted on the doors of houses to drive off evil spirits.
During the Middle Ages, the rooster became a popular Christian image on weathervanes, also known as weathercocks. Its crowing made it an emblem of the Christian's attitude of watchfulness and readiness for the sudden return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment of humankind (Mk 13:32 & 13:35-36).
In many countries, roosters were sacrificed to the gods. Early Germans sacrificed roosters during their funeral rites. The Greeks believed a rooster guided the dead to the otherworld where its crowing would awaken the souls to a new life. In the Orient, the Sun-god Attis had the rooster as a personal attribute to represent the myth that Attis had risen from the dead. In the West, the black rooster is the tool of Satan.
Because of its aggressiveness, the rooster has been used to symbolize the soldierly qualities of vigilance, courage, supremacy, and pride. It is the national emblem of France and an image of war.
This bird's aggressiveness and strutting have also caused it to be associated with base qualities such as arrogance, conceit, bossiness, lust, anger, bad temper, and frustrated desires.
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotes are from the NKJV Bible.
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© 1997 by Suzetta Tucker
To cite this page:
Tucker, Suzetta. "ChristStory Rooster Page." ChristStory Christian Bestiary. 1997. http://ww2.netnitco.net/users/legend01/rooster.htm ().