History and knowhow of Komboloi, the Greek worry beads (video)

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
History and knowhow of Komboloi, the Greek worry beads (video)The Greek Worry Beads vs Fidget Spinner

The Komboloi may be one of the most typical symbols of the Greek easy-going mentality that has been widely established both in Greece and Cyprus since the middle of the 20th century. Yet the history of the komboloi and its origins date back to time, when monks in Mount Athos began making strands of beads by tying knots on a string at regular intervals in order to say their prayers to God. However, in modern times the komboloi is not designed for religious or ceremonial purposes but rather for fun and relaxation.

Whether on the street, on the airplane or in a busy kafeneion downtown, you will find people playing with their worry beads in different manners, flips and tricks, thus letting go of their stress and worries as one bead moves deliberately towards the other. The pleasure of the action and the clicking noise of the beads turns the overall performance in an easy motion that is reported to help ease tension.

The modern Greek word komboloi derives from kombos (knot) and logio (collection) or the verb leo (say). It is said that it is short for the phrase “in every knot I say a prayer“. This etymology accounts for the fact that the komboloi actually evolved from komboskini, the Greek word for prayer rope.

Worry beads may be constructed from any type of bead, although amber, amber resin (such as faturan), and coral are preferred, as they are thought to be more pleasant to handle than non-organic materials such as metal or minerals. Greek worry beads generally have an odd number of beads (often one more than a multiple of four, e.g. (4×4)+1, (5×4)+1, and so on, or a prime number, usually 17, 19 or 23) and usually have a head composed of a fixed bead (the so called “priest”), a shield  to separate the two threads and help the beads flow freely, and a tassel (or founda in Greek). Usually the length of worry beads is approximately two palm widths. Hand made komboloi are the best to purchase in Greece and their prices can vary from a few euros to 1,000 euros and even more. Doromu is a Greek gift store that has a variety of handmade komboloi pieces, and ships worldwide.

The are various ways to handle the komboloi, but there are two ways being generally preferred. The first one is a quiet method for indoors, while the other is a noisier one that is acceptable in public places.

The most common quiet method is to start at one end of the thread or chain, near the shield, and to pull the thread forward using that hand’s thumb and the side of the index finger until one of the beads is reached. Then the cord is tipped so that the bead falls and hits the shield. This is repeated until all the beads have been tipped and then the user starts over.

The second and louder method is to divide the beads into two groups. On one end is the shield and a small number of the beads. On the other end are the rest of the beads. Where the two threads are empty, that space is laid between the index and middle fingers. The hand should be in a position where the palm is facing the torso. Then the end behind the hand is swung up and forward so that it hits the other beads, making a noise. The threads are then switched back into the space between the index and middle fingers by holding the threads between the thumb and the side of the index finger. This is repeated rhythmically, creating a louder clicking noise than the quiet method. Another method is to hold all of the worry beads in one hand and roll them against each other, creating soft clicking sounds.

Until some decades ago the komboloi as well as the begleri (half-worry beads) were only used by men (and still used only by men in rural Greece). Women who used them, especially in public, were disapproved of, but things have changed and the komboloi has become sort of a fashion accessory very popular with both sexes. The fact that the komboloi keeps your hands occupied, has been promoted as an excellent way to quit smoking.

In Nafplion you can also find the first and still unique in the world Komboloi Museum, established in 1998 by Mr and Mrs Evangelinos, who wished to spread the knowledge and history of the traditional Greek komboloi in the two-level museum.

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright: Antonio Fajardo López:Fajardoalacant License: CC-BY-SA

Tornos
  1. 14/12 19:25

    Chinese Cosco interested in second Thriasio Plain logistics tender

  2. 14/12 19:20

    Report: Snow batters Europe while the Sun shines in Greece

  3. 14/12 19:15

    Anarchist Rouvikonas group attacks Saudi Arabia Embassy in Athens (video)

  4. 14/12 19:11

    Greek-American actor John Stamos expecting child with fiancée at 54

  5. 14/12 19:07

    Prime Minister: Greece will not accept any changes to EU refugee deal

  6. 14/12 18:52

    United States accuses Turkey of supporting extremist groups around the globe

  7. 14/12 18:45

    Archaeologists unearth Greek Goddess Artemis’ Statue in Luxor, Egypt

  8. 14/12 18:10

    Simon Fraser University's new program on ‘Rebooting the Greek Language’

  9. 14/12 18:02

    Greek President Pavlopoulos attends anniversary of Laskaridis Foundation

  10. 14/12 17:54

    National Bank: Tourism drives Greece’s recovery

  11. 14/12 17:41

    Greek banks eye €9.5 billion in capital after IFRS 9 and stress tests

  12. 14/12 17:34

    Labour minister declares December 26 as obligatory holiday in Greece

  13. 14/12 17:26

    Official dinner and Leadership Award held at Capital Link Forum on Greece

  14. 14/12 17:19

    Bank of Greece circulates first collectible coin with color

  15. 14/12 17:09

    EU Vice President calls for European solution to migration crisis

  16. 14/12 17:01

    EU court rejects Greek motion to annul EC decision on state aid to Piraeus

  17. 14/12 16:48

    Modern French Baraka circus in Elefsina, Cultural Capital of Europe 2021

  18. 14/12 15:43

    Turkish President accuses Donald Trump of having “zionist” mentality

  19. 14/12 11:33

    Magical trip to mountainous Nafpaktia region in central Greece

  20. 14/12 10:02

    Massive general strike shuts down Athens, transport and government

  21. 14/12 01:01

    German Tourism: Egypt and Greece are top winners of 2017 travel market

  22. 14/12 00:01

    UN Envoy Nimetz still considers FYROM name dispute solvable

  23. 13/12 23:55

    Government-appointed Experts Committee urges immediate start of Helleniko project

  24. 13/12 23:48

    The top-10 Ancient Greek inventions and discoveries still in use today

  25. 13/12 23:43

    EU Commissioner slams Council President over refugee quotas

  26. 13/12 23:38

    Latest poll: Greek opposition on the verge of absolute majority

  27. 13/12 23:32

    Greek court backs Russian bitcoin fraud suspect’s extradition to U.S.

  28. 13/12 23:20

    “Greek Day” at NYSE with Finance Minister ringing the closing bell

  29. 13/12 23:15

    US Congresswoman urges FM to reject Erdogan’s remarks on Greek borders

  30. 13/12 23:00

    Mom and daughter find clay lamp from Hellenistic Period in Israel

  31. 13/12 22:05

    Lampsa adds third Athens' Syntagma square hotel to its group

  32. 13/12 21:58

    Greek resort won top European Award at Swiss event

  33. 13/12 21:51

    Report: Europe’s top city destination is located in Greece

  34. 13/12 21:45

    Greek city of Thessaloniki to build Jewish school and new Holocaust Museum

  35. 13/12 20:47

    IMF's Lagarde reiterates that restructuring Greece’s debt is essential

  36. 13/12 20:40

    Deutsche Bank forecast: Greece will make it out of the crisis

  37. 13/12 20:32

    Report: Which are the three investments that could change Greece’s fate

  38. 13/12 20:23

    Parameters of Greek bank stress tests to be announced in early January

  39. 13/12 20:13

    Counter-flooding project at Greek-Bulgarian river borders to kick off

  40. 13/12 20:01

    When will Greece's Panathinaikos team be kicked out of European football

  41. 13/12 19:52

    Greek shops required to charge for plastic bags after January 1st 2018

  42. 13/12 19:09

    14 Turkish Air Force jets violate Greek air space over the Aegean Sea

  43. 13/12 17:42

    Greek government to unveil e-auction platform replacing courtroom process

  44. 13/12 15:32

    Which EU Chief wants all refugees to remain in Greece and Italy

  45. 13/12 13:24

    Ergani: 128,230 new jobs in Greece during first 11 months of 2017

  46. 13/12 11:15

    The Greek-American who played key role in capture of bomber in NYC

  47. 12/12 23:41

    UK historian Mary Beard connects Greek myths and Twitter trolls

  48. 12/12 23:34

    Eirini from Crete sings US anthem in Gianni's game at Boston Garden (video)

  49. 12/12 23:29

    Greek FinMin rejects concerns about Ethniki Insurance and its investors

  50. 12/12 23:25

    Tito’s granddaughter questions viability of ‘Macedonia’ as talks with Greece restart

  51. 12/12 23:24

    TrainOSE trains to stop running in observation of 24hr strike on Thursday

  52. 12/12 23:14

    Athens metro, tram and train to operate only from 09.00-21.00 on Thursday

  53. 12/12 23:10

    Giannis to take part in GNTO campaign to attract US tourists

  54. 12/12 23:06

    Fraport Greece: Kavala airport project to be completed by 2019

  55. 12/12 23:02

    Third rail provider license to be approved in Greece

  56. 12/12 22:55

    Visit Greece for dreamlike winter walks as well

  57. 12/12 22:50

    Union work stoppage to alter Olympic Air flights on Thursday

  58. 12/12 22:44

    'Georgios Averoff' sets sail from Thessaloniki returning to Piraeus port (video)

  59. 12/12 22:38

    Stricter laws and crackdown on foreign-flagged pro vessels in Greek waters

  60. 12/12 22:30

    Athens Christmas Factory 2017 to stay open until 7 January 2018 in Technopolis, Gazi

  61. 12/12 22:25

    Tourism Minister calls on foreigners to invest in Greece

  62. 12/12 22:01

    Draft bill to allow marinas' management transfer to local bodies in Greece

  63. 12/12 20:16

    Lithuanian-based technology firm BitREC expanding to Greek market

  64. 12/12 20:12

    Mitsotakis: Climate change the greatest long-term threat to Greece

  65. 12/12 20:06

    Main opposition ND: We expect the Greek government to implement privatizations

  66. 12/12 20:02

    Erdogan interview: Turkish-Cypriots “joint owners” not minority

  67. 12/12 19:22

    4.1% decrease in building activity across Greece in September

  68. 12/12 18:45

    Eurostat: Greece has the highest tax rises in the European Union

  69. 12/12 15:10

    Israeli PM slams Turkish President over Jerusalem issue

  70. 12/12 13:57

    Authorities: Sixth bear killed in road accident in northern Greece

  71. 12/12 11:21

    PM: Greek state saved €764 million by renegotiating four highway projects

  72. 11/12 23:05

    Global Blue Hellas: Tax Free transactions soar in 12-month period

  73. 11/12 21:16

    Tourism: Athens in top-10 destinations for Scandinavians for Q1 2018

  74. 11/12 21:03

    Acclaimed King's College Choir to make a first appearance in Athens

  75. 11/12 20:56

    No trolleys in Athens on Thursday from 9am to 9pm due to work stoppage

  76. 11/12 20:48

    Greek banks team up to offer settlements to 170,000 debtors

  77. 11/12 20:43

    Prime Minister: We invite American investments to Greece

  78. 11/12 20:41

    FYROM and Greece back to the name game bargaining table

  79. 11/12 20:38

    Moody's credit positive: Greek banks meet non-performing exposure targets

  80. 11/12 20:33

    Cyprus airports celebrate surpassing 10-million-passenger milestone

  81. 11/12 20:25

    New York City fashion event helps save lives of women in Greece

  82. 11/12 20:16

    Extended shop opening hours for Christmas in Greece

  83. 11/12 20:10

    Athens Airport tops 2016 passenger total by end of November 2017

  84. 11/12 20:05

    Passage through the scenic Corinth canal a part of Greek history

  85. 11/12 19:55

    The Archaeological Museum of Eleusis: A true hidden treasure

  86. 11/12 18:29

    The three best performing Greek islands in tourism for 2017

  87. 11/12 18:23

    4th Greek Tourism Expo: Medical tourism a 'golden opportunity' for Greece

  88. 11/12 17:46

    Energy minister: Government seeks fair price for sale of stake in DESFA

  89. 11/12 17:40

    Body of mountain climber recovered from steep cliff on Mount Olympus in Greece

  90. 11/12 17:29

    Report: New light cast on tanker sinking in Saronic Gulf

  91. 11/12 15:24

    Greek trade deficit up by 20.6% during October 2017

  92. 11/12 13:17

    Bild: Rise in migrants trying to enter EU from Greek airports with forged travel docs

  93. 11/12 11:08

    1.13 million applications for 'social dividend' approved so far in Greece

  94. 10/12 17:49

    Prime Minister: Greece supports Serbia’s European Union bid

  95. 10/12 12:52

    Large number of migrants and refugees leave from Lesvos island in Greece

  96. 10/12 12:45

    Card payments set to increase by more than 40% in Greece during 2017

  97. 10/12 12:33

    Rebetiko music in UNESCO’s 2017 Intangible Cultural Heritage List (video)

  98. 10/12 12:28

    Increase of 5-7% recorded this year for Greek exports

  99. 10/12 12:20

    Greece sent relief items to Albania after Tirana asked for emergency assistance

  100. 10/12 11:57

    State Department: The United States supports the sovereignty of Greece