Tugging of Mrduja

Tugging of Mrduja


What si Mrduja and why do we pull it?


Mrduja is an islet, stationed halfway between the islands of Brač and Šolta, valiantly guarding the Strait of Split. Once a year, these couple of hundred square meters of rock covered whit macchia shrub and cypress trees and adorned with a fort, Renaissance-Baroque church and a lighthouse, become the object of intense dispute between the inhabitants of Brač and Šolta, especially those from Milna and Stomorska.


On this day, the people of Milna and Stomorska, literally tie their boats to each side of Mrduja and start tugging. In this satirical tug of war they each try to pull the little island to their respective side and claim it as their territory. The „war“ ends when a winner is proclaimed and awarded ownership over Mrduja for a year. The Tugging of Mrduja embodies the irony and the self-deprecating humor of the islanders. It s a metaphor about the past and a lesson for the future.


When Milnarans were shopping for wisdom in Venice


The people of Brač love to make jokes, including those at the expense of others. Here's how folks from other parts of the island joke about the people of Milna, known as Milnarans.

Between the islands of Brač and Šolta, there is a tiny island of Mrduja. There are many stories related this islet and one of them goes back to a time when Milnarans got wealthy and decided they should buy themselves some wisdom. They agreed that the best way to do this would be to send some merchants, fluent in Italian, to Venice, where they could procure this wisdom. And so they went and bought some wisdom from Venitian merchants. One of the merchants gave them a calabash container with a cork and said: Here you have it. When you arrive in Milna, gather all the folk at the main square and unplug the calabash. The wisdom will slowly seep out of it and into their heads, which will make everyone smarter. The Milnarans boarded their ship joyfully and set sail for Brač. After some thinking, one of the merchants said: “If we bring this wisdom to Milna and release it, everyone will become smarter, but what's in it for us? I think the best thing to do is to have some of it for ourselves first, so that we are smarter than the rest.” The other three agreed and said: “We should make a stop on Mrduja, before arriving on Brač.” And that's what they did. They moored on Mrduja, opened the calabash and strained themselves to get as much wisdom out of it as possible. However, when they unplugged it, a tiny little mouse ran out of the calabash. The men cried out: “Oh, no! Wisdom got out! What are we going to do? All the money we paid for it is gone!” Having thought about it, they decided to be forthright and came up with a solution. They would pull Mrduja into the bay of Milna. This would let the wisdom cross over to Milna and everyone would still get smarter. And so they went back and told the other Milnarans everything that happened. Everyone took a big rope, tied it around Mrduja and started to pull on it. But, as they were tugging on the rope, they could not be sure if the islet was getting closer to Milna or if the rope was getting stretched out. Finally one of them yelled out: “Either Mrduja is getting closer, or the rope is getting longer!” And to this day, the rest of Brač folk make fun of Milnarans with this exclamation.