As you may have noticed from driving around Iceland’s countryside, there are many sheep. Historically, sheep were put to pasture in the highlands during the summer and then, as the weather turned for the worse, they were gathered up to be housed in sheds on the farmstead.
Farmers still live by this seasonal pattern in Iceland, letting their sheep roam the countryside and then rounding them up in the middle of September, the end of Iceland’s summer.
These roundups, or réttir, will vary depending on the community, but they all generally happen around the same time. Your best bet is to check the agricultural and farmers’ newspaper, Bændablaðið.
Réttir are a time when an entire community comes together to pitch in. It’s a lot of hard work to collect and wrangle all of the livestock, but many communities will also have a big party afterwards, called a Réttaball. There tends to be plenty of singing, dancing, and drinking at these celebrations, since it’s the last gasp of summer fun before the winter!