Worry Beads (Komboloi)

  • Worry Beads
    "Visitors to present-day Greece, Turkey, or the Middle East see men an women holding "worry beads." At business meetings in Saudi Arabia, businessmen discuss transactions involving millions of dollars while fingering strings of beads. If questioned, people will deny the beads have any special meaning. However, since there are usually thirty-three beads on the string with a vase-shaped retaining bead ending in a tassel […] "

    History of Prayer Beads » The History of Beads: From 100,000 B.C. to the Present
    Lois Sherr Dubin (2009) Abrams Publishers, Inc.

  • Cultural Use of Beads
    "Worry beads, the secular counterpart of prayer beads, are found in the Middle East, Turkey, and Greece, and are also known by their Greek name komboloi. Inspired by Islamic prayer beads, komboloi usually consist of 33 beads (any variation from this will still be an odd number, along with a leader bead). Some have even hypothesized that worry beads evolved […] "

    Prayer Bead Traditions » A String & A Prayer: How to Make & Use Prayer Beads
    Eleanor Wiley and Maggie Oman Shannon (2007) Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

  • Secular Worry Beads
    "It isn't unusual to see elderly men in Greece, Turkey, and elsewhere in the Middle East fingering secular beads, called komboloi in Greek. The 33-bead strand is not for prayer, but it does have a calming effect on those who hold it. […] "

    Dharma Beads: Making and Using Your Own Buddhist Malas
    Joanna Arettam (2000) Journey Editions; Tuttle Publishing