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Brganja – Etimology of the Term

Brganja is a traditional tool for harvesting shells. It was made of a square metal construction with a strong net for the shells. All the metal pieces for this tool – brganja were made in local blacksmitheries while the boat owners made the net themselves. In the older days net was made out of copper wire while today it is made of a fishing net.
Brganja was very important for locals, for their daily eating routine. What’s interesting is that people in Betina had more shells on their daily menu than fish.

Nowadays a celebration festivity is being held every August in Betina. Celebrating the Festivity of Brganja is a dedication to all the hardworking people in Betina in the older days and their will to make their living.

Here is some archive data collected from the work of Ivana Škevin Rajko, phd in Italian:

“The term itself refers to an old Venetian term ‘bragagna’ which is described by some sources as a long, wide net tied to the stern of the boat for awhile, and then being pulled out of the sea filled with fish. Some sources mention it was used as a tool for catching fish, while others as a seashell harvesting tool. Most of the sources define it as a fishing tool, but there are some differences between them concerning the size of the tool and its use. Some Venetian sources confirm that ‘bragagna’ was used to catch mullets, while other sources link it with the Venetian phrase ‘cocia’ (which was spoken in the city of Zadar while under Venetians) and explain that the net ‘koča’ (‘cocia’) if it’s of smaller size, and if drawn by one boat only, was called ‘bragànza’. Other sources also indicate that ‘bragozo’ is a boat equipped for fishing with a net (‘koča – cocia’). It can be concluded that the term derives from the name of the boat drawing the ‘brganja’ (‘bragozo > bragagna’), or by adding the term ‘bragagna’ – which derives from the Greek ‘orgánion’ – tool, equipment, gear, on the basis ‘braga’ which means a hose. 

In Betina and Murter nowadays, ‘brganja’ is a tool of a smaller size drawn from the boat from 3-4 to 10-15 metres of depth used for harvesting different types of shells, or sea sponges.”

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