Iceland’s Annual Sheep Sorting Event

It is thought that Vikings brought the first sheep to Iceland more than a thousand years ago, and up until recently, there were more sheep than people in the country. These are free-range sheep. They are turned out in the spring to wander as they please across the highlands, grazing on abundant grass. Then in September, they are gathered up and brought back to civilization, a process that can take up to a week. Then its time for the annual rettir, in which the sheep are sorted and counted. And no one falls asleep doing it!  

All local sheep farmers gather for the sorting, after which they will take their sheep home for the winter. This gives the event an air of a festival, a time for socializing and sharing the work. There are even traditional foods for the rettir, and it’s been turned into a tourist draw, too. Smithsonian shares the process of the annual rettir and its traditions so we can enjoy it without traveling to Iceland.

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Source: neatorama

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