Symbolic of the Greek don't worry, be happy lifestyle, worry beads are said to derive from the Greek Orthodox komboskini, a prayer rope used by monks and nuns and the word komboloi - as worry beads are called in Greek - derives from σε κάθε κόμπο προσευχή λέω: "in every knot I say a prayer".
Traditionally made from amber, coral or wood, and more recently from metal or plastic, komboloi usually consist of an odd number of beads between 17-23, either a prime number of beads, e,g, 17, 19 or 23, or multiples of four, plus one, e.g. 4*4+1=17, 4*5+1=21.
and still in some rural areas, komboloi and begleri (half-worry beads)
were only used by men as a way to pass time and relieve boredom or
tension, now they're often used by people who want to stop smoking – as
well as many who don't! There are two ways to use them, a quiet way for
indoor use and a noisier way, acceptable outdoors.|
There's a Komboloi Museum in Navplion and, a bit nearer, a selection of their stock can be found in the small komboloi museum in the Byzantino Hotel, Riga Feraiou 106, Patras (parallel to the seafront).
Komboloi aren't as widely seen on Kefalonia as in some parts of Greece (perhaps Kefalonia's more relaxing?)