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Homeward bound
© Pieter Tytgat/Getty Images
Each September in Iceland brings the arrival of réttir, the annual sheep roundup. After spending spring and summer grazing in the hills and meadows of the Icelandic countryside, the nation's many sheep—all members of a distinct breed—are brought home to their ranches to avoid the harsh winter weather. It's not an easy task—ranchers and Icelandic sheepdogs endeavor to bring the often stubborn sheep in, and then they must sort them so they go back to their respective owners. When the sheep are all secure at their home ranches, people customarily celebrate with music, dancing, drinks, and food. In recent years, the event has attracted tourists interested in seeing this collaborative undertaking in action, but of course, even in the Icelandic countryside, social events like réttir celebrations will be a bit more subdued this year.
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Quick fact:
Iceland forbids the importing of sheep to the island nation, rendering the traditional breed of Icelandic sheep so isolated it's genetically the same today as it was 1,100 years ago.
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