Who We Are…
Everybody knows a Shriner by the red fez he wears. It was adopted as the official headgear of the Ancient Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at its founding in 1872, and comes from the Holy City of Fez in Morocco where it was first manufactured back around 980 A.D.
At that time the city was a seat of learning, and only the highest dignitaries were allowed to wear a red fez.
Today, the fez is worn at Shriners functions and in parades and outings to call attention to the organization.
Only certain ranking Shriners may have their titles on their fez, and the tassel can only be secured with two pins or clasps on the left side of the fez. Additional pins or adornments are strictly forbidden!
The Shrine of North America is known for its colorful parades, circuses and clowns. The best known symbol of Shrinedom is the distinctive red fez that Shriners wear at official functions. But there is also a serious side to this international fraternity of approximately 525,000 men belonging to 191 Shrine Temples, or chapters, throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Republic of Panama. For 75 years, the Shrine has operated a network of specialized hospitals that treat children with orthopaedic problems, burns and spinal cord injuries, up to their 18th birthday, free of charge.
The Shrine was founded in 1872 by a group of 13 men belonging to the Masonic Order. It was originally established to provide fun and fellowship for its members. But as the organization grew, its members decided to dedicate their efforts to helping others by establishing an official Shrine philanthropy. This is a network of specialized hospitals that have provided expert medical care to more than 600,000 children, free of charge. Since the first Shriners Hospital opened in 1922, the Shrine has supported what has come to be known as the “World’s Greatest Philanthropy.” The Shrine and its 22 hospitals, while maintaining separate legal and financial identities, are linked through the Shrine’s continuing support of Shriners Hospitals.
Because Shriners are men who enjoy life, fun is a large part of the Shrine and the activities that help support the Shrine’s philanthropy. Most Shrine Temples sponsor Shrine Clubs and special units, such as the motor corps, band or clown units and many other units of interest. They share in the camaraderie, deep friendships and good fellowship that are all part of being a Shriner.
For more info on the History of the Shrine you can download this small .PDF book “A Short History, Shriners Hospitals for Children & Shriners of North America.”