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Factoids about the Icelanders 3

Ísland til fornaBack in the old days, everyone in Iceland HAD to have a place to live, meaning they had to be a part of a household on a farm. It was the law. This meant that workers were obliged to find a position, and while there, they were under the complete and utter authority of the farmer whose farm they were on. They were not even allowed to leave the farm without his permission. Their contracts lasted one year, and when that year was up they were allowed to relocate to another farm, if they had found another position. Those days were always in May and were called “fardagar” – travel days. [I also recently saw them called “flitting days” in English in the excellent novel Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.] On such days there would be “traffic” in the Icelandic countryside, with people lugging their belongings from one farm to another.

Photo from the National Land Survey of Iceland. Found here