The Chinese zodiac heralds the rooster as a hard worker, and as shrewd and definite in decision making, often speaking his mind. Because of this, roosters tend to seem boastful. They are dreamers and flashy dressers who are eccentric and extravagant to a fault. Born under this sign, you should be happy as a restaurant owner, publicist, soldier or world traveler.
One of the earliest appearances of the rooster was as Abraxas, a god with the head of a rooster and body of a serpent, which appeared in both Greek and Egyptian mythologies. It was not only a symbol of the sun but of darkness as well, a primal paradox combined in one entity. Amulets and charms with the Abraxas emblem were worn as protection.
A Christian story would have us believe that apparitions disappear at cock crow, a superstition referred to by Shakespeare in Hamlet in the lines, "The morning cock grew loud / and at the sound it (the ghost) shrank in haste away."
In the Far East, the rooster image was painted on doorways as protection. In Hindu symbology, the red rooster heralds wisdom, light and spiritual unfolding, while Japanese myth recounts a tale of the cockerel calling the sun-goddess from her cave, where her light was hidden from humans
In Celtic myth, the rooster's resounding call warned the gods of danger, and as messenger of the underworld it lead the souls of the dead to the next world. In some ancient jurisdictions, eating the bird was forbidden, although in many of the old European and Celtic traditions, the rooster was offered as sacrifice during harvest rites, where the blood of the rooster returned to the earth.
The rooster is still the unofficial emblem of France, and its historic links go back to ancient Gaul. Through its close relationship with the mother goddess, it became an emblem of fertility and birth. Its further association with courage, vigilance, bravery in battle and lust for life, qualified the rooster as a worthy motif for the French Revolutionaries, and appeared on the flag of the first Republic in the late 1700s. The Latin word Gallus means both 'Gaul' and 'cockere', ensuring the rooster's adoption as a fitting emblem for the French. The Gallic cockerel appears on government seals, and was the symbol used by the French Resistance in WWII as a reminder of the resilience of the French people, bolstering their commitment to resist.
Kenyan legend describes a Great Red Rooster who lived in the clouds, causing lightning when it ruffled its wings, and thunder when it crowed. Before the advent of clocks, the rooster was kept in the royal court of ancient Korea as the 'royal timekeeper'. For the Babylonians the cockerel was a solar symbol and was placed on the altar prior to making offerings to the Sun God.
Some aspects of the rooster character have earned it infamy in folklore and literature. Boastful, arrogant, ambitious, and proudly crowing about its own status are less positive aspects of this impressive bird. But its red comb and wattles against white feathers have made it a favourite subject for artists. In China, these red features were symbols of autumn and sunset.