The History Path of Kombolói
The History Path of Kombolói (5/8)

Perhaps, through the invention of the kombolói, Greeks expressed in a sense what they felt inside, that they are free people despite being under Turkish rule and that they would soon show this truth to the entire world. The kombolói, their invention, consisted of 33 beads, just like its predecessor, the Muslim rosary. Greeks retained the larger bead on top of the rosary, what Turks called Allah, which was made of the same material and marked the beginning and the end of the rosary string, but renamed it into papás (or thireós). The small spacer beads (stoppers) marking each 11 beads of the Muslim rosary were usually kept, not only because of their ornamental character, but also because the adjacent beads that fell on top would render a different, finer sound thus making the play of a kombolói even more interesting. The name for this invention was not at all accidental. Greeks baptised the "reborn" rosary 'kombolói' associating it with the Greek Orthodox knotted prayer strand, komboskíni, of which the Greek Orthodox monks would say a prayer at each knot. More specifically, the word kombo-lói stems from the word 'kòmbos' meaning 'knot' and the verb 'lèo' meaning 'say'. Playing a kombolói is simple. Greeks hold both sides of beads with one or both hands and start setting the beads one by one in motion, setting them free to "speak". The sound born by the collision of the large beads resembles the sound of a church bell ringing, an invitation of the people, a sign of fraternisation among those that enriched and reinforced this melody with the sound of their own kombolói. This sound might have reached the hearts of the free but conquered Greeks, warmed them, heartened them and at the same time prepared them for the imminent revolution against their conquerors.

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