For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe. ~Author Unknown
Have you found yourself fretting during this global pandemic?
Wishing you had something to occupy your hands so you wouldn’t constantly stuff your face with food or gnaw your fingernails?
Maybe Komboloi worry beads could be a solution for you.
Komboloi (“come-bo-loy”) is a word that comes from two Greek words for knot and collection.
In essence, they’re Greek worry beads.
Now, the Old English word bede means prayer, and people of many religions (including Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists) use beads to worship. As a Catholic and a beader of jewelry, I know firsthand there’s something relaxing about fingering beads, hearing them click against one another, and uttering repetitious prayers.
But Komboloi — though they’re believed to have developed in medieval times as a way for Greek monks to count their prayers — don’t have a religious purpose these days. Instead, their popularity has surged as a means of combating tension and stress.
Komboloi delight the senses and serve as a fashion statement. They symbolize social prestige (some strands are quite expensive, depending on the materials used) and become an heirloom or keepsake. Some people use them as an amulet against bad luck; for others, it’s a reflection of their personality.
There are two ways to “play” with Komboloi — one quiet and the other loud. Both ways take skill to master. It’s said that the rhythmic clicking of bead against bead is what encourages relaxation, while giving the hands something to do.
Komboloi can be made from many types of beads. Amber or coral seem to be preferred, but precious stones, bones, wood, seeds, and other materials can be used.
Each strand consists of an odd number of beads (usually one more than a multiple of four), plus a fixed bead (the “priest”), and a tassel. Many variations on this design exist, and it’s suggested that each individual have his or her own strand rather than sharing, as the beads become symbolic to the person.
Finished Komboloi are available online, in stores, and at craft fairs, but the technique to make them is rather simple and can be found in step-by-step written or video directions. Besides, wouldn’t you want to personalize your strand as to color, length, and type of materials used?
That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. ~Chinese Proverb