Re: History of Komboloi

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Posted by Christine on July 25, 2001 at 00:06:55:

In Reply to: History of Komboloi posted by Patty on January 20, 2000 at 12:44:35:

Komboloi: Derived from the Greek word kombos, meaning knot, specifically a large number of knots, and loi, meaning a group that sticks together.

It would sound safe to assume that the the Greeks adopted the principle of the Chinese balls and redeveloped them into a concept that was slightly more discrete and easily managable, however that is not the case. A few theories suggest that worry beads were first used on Mount Athos in northern Greece, where strands of beads made of woolen knots were tied on a string. These knotted prayer strings are called komboskini. Komboloi or komboskini are still used to count prayers by the monks in the monasteries on Mount Athos. The monks make their worry beads from handy, inexpensive materials such as wood, shells, hazelnuts and olive pits. Another theory suggests that worry beads traveled across the Aegean Sea from the Asia Minor. While the Turks occupied Greece after the fall of Constantinople, from 1453 to 1821, the rebellious Greeks used to mock the occupying Turks as they used strands of 40 beads for prayer. The beads then simply assimilated into the Greek culture. The string with marbles attached then acted as a way to keep a firm grip on the little balls, twirl them around methodically, and welcome in the calming, relaxing, serenity that they deliver.

The Greeks realized that through the momentum of the twirling and the distinct feeling of having each marble pass through their fingers, they could take their mind off of what ever it was that was ailing them. Today throughout Greece these beads are used as a way of taking ones mind away from particularly bad feelings and or habits such as excessive eating, and smoking. Many times you will hear a Greek man/woman even today refer to their beads as their cigarettes, that is because in order to give up one particularly bad habit they instead picked up beads which stopped their smoking and is used to relax their mind and body as well. Not only do these worry beads prove to relief stress and take your mind away from bad habits but they are a symbol of status, style and fashion as well. The tradition of carrying your beads has gone from history, to cultural tradition, and is now being introduced for the first time as simply the best form of helping people all over the world cope with, and change some particularly bad or annoying habits that could ultimately result in high blood pressure and possibly even death.

Retail prices for "Worry Beads" can vary anywhere from $10.00-$350.00 for an elaborate set in gold or sterling silver. There are many different types available today. There are types that have religious meaning to them, home decorative, car decorative, and of course the most popular type, the kind we can pull out of our pockets and use whenever we feel the need to.

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