Örviri: The Icelandic Art of Sheep Roundups


Örviri, the Icelandic word for sheep roundups, is a centuries-old tradition that plays a vital role in the country’s agricultural heritage. Farmers and their families gather to bring their sheep down from the mountains each fall and sort them into their respective flocks. This intricate process requires skill, cooperation, and a deep understanding of the local terrain.

A Rich History

The origins of örviri can be traced back to the settlement of Iceland in the 9th century. With vast expanses of uninhabited land, sheep farming quickly became a cornerstone of the Icelandic economy. As the sheep population grew, so did the need for efficient methods of managing and sorting them. Örviri emerged as a practical solution, allowing farmers to gather their sheep from far-flung pastures and prepare them for the winter months.

The Process of Örviri

It typically takes place in September or October, coinciding with the changing colors of the Icelandic autumn. The process begins with farmers identifying the location of their sheep using GPS or traditional methods such as tracking their footprints or observing their grazing patterns. Once the sheep have been located, a group of riders on horseback, known as “réttir,” set out to gather them.

The réttir used various techniques to herd the sheep, including whistling, shouting, and waving flags. They work together to guide the sheep towards a central location, often a pen or a natural enclosure. As the sheep are gathered, they are sorted into their respective flocks based on their markings, size, or other distinguishing features.

The Importance of Örviri

It is not merely a practical necessity for Icelandic farmers but also a deeply ingrained cultural tradition. The event brings together communities and families, fostering a sense of camaraderie and cooperation. It is a time for celebration, with traditional Icelandic food, music, and dancing often accompanying the roundup.

Beyond its cultural significance, örviri plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and productivity of Icelandic sheep. Farmers can identify and separate sick or injured animals by sorting the sheep into their flocks, ensuring that they receive proper care. Additionally, örviri allows farmers to select breeding stock and cull weak or unproductive animals, contributing to the overall quality of the Icelandic sheep population.

A Sustainable Tradition

Örviri is a testament to Iceland’s harmonious relationship between humans and nature. The practice has been carefully adapted over centuries to minimize its environmental impact. Farmers take great care to avoid disturbing sensitive habitats and ensure that the sheep are handled humanely.

Örviri also contributes to the sustainability of Icelandic agriculture. Using natural resources and relying on traditional methods, örviri helps preserve Iceland’s unique cultural and ecological heritage.


The Icelandic art of sheep roundups, is a captivating tradition that embodies the country’s agricultural heritage, cultural identity, and commitment to sustainability. It is a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of the Icelandic people, who have adapted to the challenging conditions of their island nation and created a thriving agricultural industry that respects both the land and its inhabitants.


What is Örviri?

It is a new programming language designed to be easy to learn and use, even for beginners. It is a general-purpose language that can be used to create various applications, including web, mobile, and desktop applications.

Why was Örviri created?

Örviri was created because its creators felt that there was a need for a new programming language that was more accessible to beginners. They wanted to create a language that was easy to learn and use but also powerful and expressive.

What are the benefits of using Örviri?

There are many benefits to using it, including:

  • Easy to learn and use: It is a straightforward language to learn and use, even for beginners. The syntax is simple, and many resources are available to help you understand the language.
  • Powerful and expressive: This is a powerful and explicit language that can create various applications. It has rich features, including object-oriented programming, functional programming, and concurrency.
  • Cross-platform: Örviri is a cross-platform language, which means that it can be used to create applications that can run on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android.

What are some of the applications that can be created with Örviri?

It can be used to create a wide variety of applications, including:

  • Web applications: Örviri can be used to create web applications that are both powerful and easy to use.
  • Mobile applications: So it can create mobile applications for iOS and Android devices.
  • Desktop applications: This create desktop applications for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Games: It can be used to create games for both desktop and mobile devices.

Where can I learn more about Örviri?

There are many resources available to help you learn more about it, including:

  • The Örviri website: The website contains a wealth of information about the language, including tutorials, documentation, and a community forum.
  • The Örviri book: The book is a comprehensive language guide covering everything from the basics to advanced topics.
  • Courses: Several online courses are available that teach Örviri.

Is Örviri a good choice for beginners?

Yes, Örviri is a good choice for beginners. It is a straightforward language to learn and use, and many resources are available to help you get started.

Is Örviri a good choice for experienced programmers?

Yes, It is also a good choice for experienced programmers. It is a powerful and expressive language that can create various applications.

What is the future of Örviri?

The future of it is bright. The language is still being developed, but it is already used to create several real-world applications. As the language matures, it is likely to become even more popular.

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