Worry Beads - Komboloi & Begleri

Browse below for our worrybeads from Greece in all different colors and styles. All of our worry beads are authentic and made in Greece! Worry beads are the perfect gift for a Greek gentleman. Browse below our large selection of worry beads, komboloi, komboskini, begleri and beberia.

Need a large order of worrybeads? Please contact us to order large orders of 100 or more worry beads for your special event!

How To Use Worry Beads

how to use worry beads

1. The standard way to use worry beads is to start by either holding the worry beads at one end or at the center of the beads (as shown). Drape the worry beads over your middle finger.
2. Swing the worry beads back towards your arm and then swing them forward so that one end flips over your hand.
3. Swing the worry beads upward and over your index finger.
4. Have the worry beads land top of your hand, then flip them back to the position in figure 1.

Repeat steps 1-4.

Some Greeks use worry beads in other ways besides the steps outlined above, just like people handle stress in various ways. The act of focusing on the motion or feel of the worry beads is what relaxes one's mind.

Worry Beads History

Worry beads first appeared in India. They were invented to help count prayers and consisted of a series of fruit pits, punctured and stringed on a piece of string. Over time fruit pits were replaced by amber, ivory, coral, semiprecious stones, or other precise stones and noble metals. A tassel and a "papas" (the bead that marks the beginning and end of its cycle) were eventually added. The people of India embellished worry beads in various ways and thus created a work of art. Worry beads evolved into a collectable jewel that soon became a symbol of wealth, prestige, power and culture. They were something between jewel and sceptre (a symbolic ornamental staff held by a ruling monarch).

The Greek word for worry beads is kompoloi (Greek: κομπολόι), often spelled koboloi, komboloi, or coboloi and was first introduced by the Turks. From the Turks it became popular, as an accessory at the hands of the dignitaries and sovereigns, as symbol of force, wealth and power. Soon kompolois became popular among the common people as means for meditation and companion in lounging and to calm the pain.

Because kompoloi are an accessory able to cover various human needs, they passed to the hands of antisocial elements. For them it became symbol of independence, freedom and reactive and rough behaviour. The above, in addition to the intensification of the production and the rhythms of life after the second World War, lead to the decay of kompoloi, since the new conditions and ideologies created societies of people struggling for success and to survive. During that period worry beads were only popular among religious people. They used names such as Deitiko Stefani tis Panagias (Greek: δεητικό στεφάνι της Παναγιάς), meaning "Praying Crown of Virgin Mary" or paterimi (Greek: πατερήμι). However the most common name for the religious worry beads is worry knots or komposkini (Greek: κομποσκοίνι), meaning a rope with knots, because the religious persons in each knot say a prayer. The Greek word for worry beads: kompo~loi (Greek: κομπο~λόι) also derived from this expression: "in each knot he says" which in Greek language is translated to "se kathe kompo leo" "Greek: σε κάθε κόμπο λέω".

When tourism development in Greece occurred, kompoloi, being an important element of Greek culture and tradition, became again popular but this time as a souvenir sold to tourists. During this period kompoloi were a kitschy festoon usually made of plastics, metals, or machine made silver platted beads and had nothing to do with the jewel of superior aesthetics and a symbol of wealth, power, freedom and prestige that used to be in the past.

In our age, when rhythms of life are exhausting and stress, shopping, drinks, smoking, depression and antidepressant drugs have become a matter of everyday life, kompoloi made a dynamic comeback and offer many solutions to the "dead ends" of contemporary life. Because kompoloi are:

- a way of giving up bad habits, such as smoking, nervousness or comfort eating, or biting our nails;
- a jewel, when it is strung with valuable beads made of amber, semi-precious stones or precious metals;
- a remedy, when it is made of semiprecious stones, which radiate a health-enhancing energy;
- a piece of art, when it is designed with high standards of aesthetics;
- a collector’s item, as it can be rare, beautiful, and precious;
- a symbol of strength, power, when it is artistic and precious;
- an amulet, when it contains symbols of our beliefs and good luck;
- a psychotherapist, because the massage to our fingers can relax our neural system;
- a home decorative for our the furniture, table and the walls;
- a joy for our senses, with its purling beads, silken touch, vibrant colours, and the magical scent of amber and aromatic wood;
- our personal trainer, because we can use it to train our fingers' skills.
- a heirloom, redolent of our forebears’ lives and the tales they told, and bearing the story of our own lives forward to generations to come;
- a medium between man and God, because it can be used as a rosary to count prayers
- a symbol of wealth; it points out that we have plenty of free time;
- a reflection of our personality, as it reflects our ego, in the same way as our car or our house does

This is why we are not exaggerating if we say "show me your worry beads and I’ll show you who you are". Indeed, kompoloi are not just a fashion fad: they are a necessity! Worry beads are the jewel of men and the symbol of independency for women. Instead of smoking cigarettes one after the other, or yelling out angry vocals, worry beads keep our fingers busy. Because of the ability of kompoloi to change shape, form, content and role, depending on their holder, everyone can buy or design and make the kompoloi that corresponds to his/her personality. Choices include the size, colour, number of beads, shield, tassel and priest head (papas). In order for a kompoloi to be functional as a toy, they should consist of an odd number of beads, with a sum always equal to a modulus of four, plus one. So functional kompolois are only those with (4x4)+1=17, or (5x4)+1=21 etc beads.

The rope of the kompoloi that is not covered by beads is only functional when it has length equal to the width of the holder's palm. Muslim string of beads (sibhah) always have 33 beads, divided by spacer discs into 3 sections of 11 beads. The beads are tightened as these worry beads are only designed to count prayers and not for joy.

Open-style worry beads (Mpegleri, or Begleri)

In the decade of 1930, outcasts invented something similar to the kompoloi. Open-style worry beads consisted of a festoon of 16 beads. The rope that held the beads was far bigger than the total length of the beads. They named them "Mpegleri" (Greek: Μπεγλέρι) and this name derived from the verb mpeglerizo (Greek: μπεγλερίζω) that means "I roll the dices". The teenagers of the 1990's used to hold mpegleris made of only two beads. The two edges of the rope were not tied up together, so they didn't shape a festoon. Nowadays mpegleris are designed with as many beads as desired and sometimes we add a tassel in each edge of the rope. Usually beads are made of semiprecious stones to take advantage of their positive energy.