National Rooster Day

Cheerful children admiring a rooster in a sunny farm setting, wearing colorful summer outfits with straw hats and surrounding greenery..
National rooster day illustration

Hey there, folks! It's time to celebrate National Rooster Day, the cluckiest day of the year! Get ready to embrace the wonder and wackiness of these feathery creatures with a day filled with fun and cock-a-doodle-dos. Let me tell you all about the amazing history and delightful traditions of this special day.

When is Rooster Day?

It's national rooster day on the 20th May.

The Internet History of National Rooster Day

Believe it or not, National Rooster Day was born out of a viral internet trend that took the web by storm. As the story goes, a photo of a particularly majestic rooster, strutting its stuff in all its glorious plumage, started circulating online. People couldn't help but marvel at the rooster's flamboyance and confidence. Before long, the hashtag #RoosterDay started trending, and thus, a national day was born.

But why stop at a simple hashtag celebration? Roosters everywhere deserve more recognition for their early morning wake-up calls and their impressive ability to rule the barnyard. So, a group of enthusiastic chicken enthusiasts got together and petitioned for National Rooster Day to become an official holiday, recognized by chicken lovers across the nation.

Now, every year on May 20th, people join forces to celebrate these proud and colorful birds. From farmyard parties to poultry parades, the festivities are as lively as the roosters themselves!

History behind the term 'Rooster'


The Origin of the Term 'Rooster'

The term 'rooster' can be traced back to the year 1593. It originated from the Middle English word 'rooster' which is derived from the Old English word 'rostre', meaning a male bird. The term gradually evolved over time and became the commonly used word to refer to a male chicken.


Early Mornings: The First Cocks

The term 'rooster' can be traced back to the 1400s when it originated from the Old English word 'rostre' meaning 'to crow.' Roosters, also known as cocks, were valued for their vocal abilities, heralding the break of dawn with their distinctive crowing sound. Their call became synonymous with the start of a new day, and the term 'rooster' emerged to describe these early morning wake-up calls.

4000 BC

Ancient Domestication

Roosters have a long history dating back to around 4000 BC, where they were thought to be first domesticated in ancient China. These early domesticated roosters were descendants of the wild red junglefowl. Initially, they were kept for their meat and feathers.

700 BC

Ancient Rooster Depictions

During the ancient times in China, the first known depictions of roosters were carved in jade and bronze artifacts. These intricate carvings showcased the significance of roosters in Chinese culture and their association with the sun, dawn, and vigilance.

15th century

The term 'rooster' emerges

In the 15th century, the term 'rooster' originated from the Old English word 'rostecor', which meant 'a male bird used for fighting'. This term eventually evolved into 'roster' in Middle English.

2000 BC

Ancient Depictions

The rooster's history dates back to around 2000 BC, where ancient depictions of the bird were found in the Indus Valley Civilization. These early representations suggest that roosters held significance in ancient cultures and were likely revered for their distinctive appearance and crowing abilities.

Early 17th century

Introduction of 'rooster' as a common term

In the early 17th century, the term 'rooster' became widely used to refer to a male domestic chicken, replacing the older term 'cock'. This shift in terminology was likely influenced by the desire to avoid using the word 'cock' due to its association with sexual innuendos.


French Influence on the Term

In 1675, the term 'rooster' gained prominence through French influence. The French word 'coq' was used to describe a male chicken. The word 'coq' and its variations eventually influenced the English language, and the term 'rooster' became the prevailing term for a male chicken.

1000 BC

Symbol of Strength and Power

By the 1st millennium BC, roosters began to take on a symbolic meaning of strength and power. In many cultures, they were associated with the sun and were considered solar symbols. The Greeks and Romans, for example, often depicted roosters on their coins as a symbol of strength and protection.


Symbol of Vigilance and Pride

During the 1700s, the term 'rooster' gained a broader symbolic meaning beyond its association with dawn. Roosters became recognized as symbols of vigilance and pride in many cultures. Their bold and colorful plumage, combined with their assertive nature and protective instincts, imbued them with qualities admired by people. This admiration led to the adoption of the term 'rooster' as a metaphor for courage and strength.

398 BC

Greek 'Ornis' to Latin 'Gallus Domesticus'

The term 'rooster' finds its origins in the Greek word 'ornis,' meaning bird. As Greek influence spread across Europe, 'ornis' eventually evolved into the Latin term 'gallus domesticus,' which directly translates to domestic rooster.

500 BC

Greek and Roman Symbolism

During the Greek and Roman times, the rooster gained symbolic importance. It was associated with various gods and goddesses, including Hermes, Asclepius, and Mercury. The rooster's crowing became associated with the dawn and was believed to have the power to ward off evil spirits.

1000 AD

English 'Hroostre' and French 'Coc'

In the Middle Ages, the English language adopted the word 'hroostre,' derived from Old English, as their term for a male chicken keeping watch over the flock. Concurrently, the French language developed the word 'coc' as their pejorative term for a rooster, often associated with male chauvinism.

18th century

Symbolic association of 'rooster' with courage

During the 18th century, the image of a rooster began to be associated with bravery and courage in various cultures. This symbolic association can be traced back to the bird's natural behavior of protecting its flock, as well as its confident and dominant presence.

10th Century

Medieval Heraldry

In the 10th century, roosters started appearing in medieval heraldry. The image of the rooster was used on coats of arms to represent virtues like vigilance, bravery, and watchfulness. The use of roosters in heraldry continued well into the Middle Ages.

15th Century

Rooster as a Timekeeper

In the 15th century, roosters gained another role as timekeepers. Before the invention of modern alarm clocks, roosters' crowing served as a natural alarm clock for farmers and villagers. The crowing of the rooster at dawn signaled the start of a new day and helped people wake up early.


Cock-a-Doodle-Doo: Iconic Sound

In the 1900s, the phrase 'cock-a-doodle-doo,' emanating from the crowing sound of a rooster, became an iconic verbal representation of a rooster's call. The triumphant and rhythmic nature of this phrase captured the essence of the rooster's vocalization. 'Cock-a-doodle-doo' was not only associated with roosters but also became a well-known expression to signify the beginning of a new day, echoing the crowing roosters of early mornings.


Introduction of 'Rooster' to American English

The term 'rooster' was introduced to American English in 1846. As English-speaking settlers migrated to the United States, they brought with them the term 'rooster' to describe a male chicken. This term quickly became adopted and widely used in American English.

17th Century

Rooster Symbolism in Colonial America

Roosters held symbolic importance in Colonial America. Their crowing at the break of dawn represented diligence, courage, and the idea of a new beginning. Additionally, roosters adorned weathervanes, becoming a popular symbol of weather forecasting in the New World.


Cultural Representations: Roosters in Art and Symbolism

In modern times, the term 'rooster' continues to be relevant in various forms of art and popular culture. Roosters have been depicted in paintings, sculptures, and other artistic mediums, symbolizing various qualities such as resilience, confidence, and bravery. They appear in folklore, literature, and even sports team mascots, representing both vitality and territorial defense. The term 'rooster' has now become deeply ingrained in our cultural lexicon, reminding us of its historical significance and symbolism across different facets of human expression.

17th Century

Cockfighting and Sporting Value

Cockfighting, a popular bloodsport, emerged in the 17th century and further elevated the status of roosters. In cockfighting, specially trained roosters would engage in battles, demonstrating their strength, agility, and fighting prowess. This sport not only entertained spectators but also became a way for owners to show off the quality of their roosters.

15th Century

Cultural Influence in China

Roosters hold a special place in Chinese culture. In the 15th century, Emperor Zhu Di of the Ming Dynasty brought back an influential rooster breed called the Fenghuang, which became a symbol of power and prosperity. Today, the rooster is associated with the Chinese zodiac sign and is regarded as a symbol of good fortune.

19th century

Rooster as a cultural symbol in Asia

In the 19th century, the rooster became an important cultural symbol in many Asian countries. In Chinese culture, the rooster represents good fortune, fidelity, and protection against evil spirits. It is one of the twelve zodiac animals and is associated with diligence and confidence. Similarly, in Japan, the rooster is considered a talismanic bird believed to bring good luck and ward off disaster.


Cultural Symbolism of 'Rooster'

By 1873, the term 'rooster' had gained cultural symbolism. The rooster became associated with masculinity, bravery, and vigilance, characteristics typically attributed to this proud and protective bird. The term 'rooster' came to represent not just a male chicken, but also embodied these symbolic qualities.

20th Century

Pop Culture and Symbolism

Roosters have found their way into various forms of pop culture, including literature, art, and music. In literature, they often symbolize vigilance, courage, and the heralding of a new day. Artists throughout history have depicted roosters in their works, capturing their vibrant colors and proud demeanor. Additionally, the rooster's crowing has been featured in numerous songs, becoming a familiar sound in diverse musical genres.

19th Century

Cockfighting and American Folklore

During the 19th century, roosters gained cultural significance through the sport of cockfighting. Cockfighting was a popular pastime that contributed to the development of unique and diverse rooster breeds. Roosters also made their way into American folklore, with characters like Chanticleer the Rooster gaining fame in literature and theater.

20th Century

Rooster in Popular Culture

In the 20th century, the term 'rooster' continued to hold significance in popular culture. It appeared in various forms of art, literature, and folklore. The image of a rooster crowing at the break of dawn became synonymous with starting the day. Roosters were also associated with farm life and rural traditions.

20th Century

Roosters in Pop Culture

During the 20th century, roosters became popular in various forms of entertainment and pop culture. The character Foghorn Leghorn, introduced by Warner Bros. in 1946, personified the loud and eccentric nature often associated with roosters. Roosters also found their way into advertising, product logos, and even sports team mascots, adding a touch of vibrancy and energy.

20th century

Popularity of the rooster in art and literature

In the 20th century, the rooster gained significant popularity and became a subject of art, literature, and various cultural expressions. Its vibrant colors, distinctive appearance, and symbolic meanings inspired artists and writers worldwide. The rooster's crowing also became a signifier of a new day and played a role in representations of rural life and natural awakenings.

21st Century

Mascots and Pop Culture

In the 21st century, the cultural impact of roosters continues to thrive. Roosters are frequently used as mascots for sports teams, symbolizing qualities such as strength, courage, and competitiveness. Moreover, they often appear in pop culture references, music, and art, representing vitality and intensity.

Present Day

Rooster as a Symbol of Good Luck and Prosperity

Today, the term 'rooster' is not only used to describe a male chicken but is also seen as a symbol of good luck and prosperity in many cultures around the world. The rooster is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring positive energy. It continues to be a popular motif in decorative art, including sculptures and ornaments.

Did you know?

Did you know that roosters have their own unique language? The specific vocalizations they make convey different messages, from signaling danger to expressing dominance. It's like they have their own little chicken dialect! So, next time you hear a rooster crowing, try to decode the message they're delivering.


fun celebration animals

First identified

20th May 2015

Most mentioned on

20th May 2015

Total mentions


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