String of worry beads
String of worry beads

Have you ever felt the need to soothe yourself? The komboloi, a string of worry beads, is what Greek people use to soothe themselves. The Greeks use the komboloi when they find themselves going through difficult times. However, they are sometimes used for self-entertainment. It’s very common for Greek men to carry one around with them, and if you visit Greece you will most likely see the older men holding them. Although the younger men do use them, they tend to not carry one around with them as they aren’t always extremely fashionable to hold. A komboloi can come in a variety of different styles, such as solid colored like mine or transparent. The komboloi originated about twenty-five hundred years ago when the monks in Mount Athos used them for religious purposes. First, they would begin making strands of beads by tying knots on a string at regular intervals. Next, they would take their creation, which was the komboloi, and use it for praying to God. Before my grandfather informed me, I had no idea what the komboloi was. The komboloi is important to me because it is one of the few items of mine, which separates me from feeling like a typical American. In fact, it reminds me of my Greek heritage and background. Typical Greek men own kombolois at some point in their lives, either at young or old ages. Recently I’ve proudly received my grandfather’s komboloi and I’ll cherish it forever. 

Place(s): Greece
Year: 1974

– Dimitri Dimitrakis

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant