A few days ago, we were in a town called Santo Domingo de la Calzada. While we were there, our new friend Mary told us the story of Santo Domingo.

Painting of Santo Domingo and a chicken

Santo Domingo is the patron saint of Spanish Civil Engineers. He’s pictured here with a chicken.

Here’s why they’re hanging out together.

The legend of the rooster and the chicken

The story goes that a pilgrim was travelling the Camino with his family. They were staying in a hostel when a Spanish girl tried to seduce him. He wasn’t up for it so, as women often do, she decided to frame him for a serious crime. She put a silver cup in his bag and told everyone he stole it.

He was found guilty and hung. Thinking he was dead, his parents ploughed on to Santiago (maybe they only had a limited number of days off work for their trip). On their way back, they checked the body and realised he wasn’t dead. He said Santo Domingo had held his body up and saved him.

His parents went and told the magistrate who was eating a chicken and rooster. He didn’t believe them and said their son was as dead as his dinner. At that point, both birds came back to life and flew off. This convinced the magistrate they were telling the truth so he ran off to untie their son (hooray).

A full version of the legend is on Wikipedia.

Chickens everywhere

Pretty much everywhere we’ve seen Santo Domingo, we’ve seen a chicken.


Geometric painting of lots of shapes, primary colour, a chicken and a rooster

Caricatured sculpture of Santo Domingo with a chicken and a rooster

Graffiti in Santo Domingo featuring a chicken and a rooster

Amazing pastries

If you go to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, you see things related to the chicken story everywhere. The best are these excellent, and very tasty, pastries.

Miracle chicken:

Pastry of the miracle chicken which came back to life

Hanged man:

Pastry of the hanged man who Santo Domingo kept alive as part of a miracle