It started in Manhattan in 1870 when a few Masons were sharing a drink at their favorite tavern. They felt that Masonry, which traces its roots to stonemasons and craftsmen of the Middle Ages, was a bit too focused on ritual. Instead, they wanted a fraternity that stressed fun and fellowship—not to replace Masonry, but to add to it.
They came up with the idea for their look and language (fez, scimitar etc.) after attending a party thrown by an Arabian diplomat.
The first chapter, Mecca Shriners, met in New York City in 1872. Membership grew, spreading across the US, and by the early 1900’s, into Canada, Mexico and Panama. Today there are approximately 309,000 Shriners throughout the U.S., Canada, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, Puerto Rico and Panama.
Shriners International is a spin-off from Freemasonry which dates back hundreds of years to a time when stonemasons and other craftsmen gathered after work in shelter houses or lodges. Over time, the members organized into Masonic guilds and the tools of their trade—the square and compass—became the symbol of their brotherhood.
Masonry evolved to accept members who were not craftsmen, and today, Masonry is built upon a foundation of improving character and strengthening communities, though the square and compass are still the symbols of the fraternal brotherhood.
When Shriners International was first founded in 1872, the organization built on the principles that guided Freemasonry, while adding an element of fun and philanthropy that set Shriners apart.
Members of the Masonic lodges are required to learn about their fraternity and earn a series of Masonic degrees. When a member completes the third and final degree, he becomes a Master Mason and is then eligible to become a Shriner. Additional courses of Masonic study, the Scottish Rite and the York Rite, are also available to pursue.
To learn more about how to become a Mason and a Shriner visit www.beashrinernow.com.
The Waterloo County Shrine Club was formed in 1924 by a number of the Nobles of the Mocha Shriners. Mocha Shriners is the Southwestern Ontario chapter of Shriners International.
Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. There are approximately 350,000 members from 191 temples (chapters) in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Republic of Panama.
Shriners International supports Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs.
Children up to age 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care at Shriners Hospitals for Children and receive all services at no financial obligation to families.
Wondering what Shriners are all about? It’s simple. Being a Shriner is a life choice foremost to have fun and stand for integrity, upholding our Masonic tenets and service to others. Commitment to your brothers, to fun and our philanthropy is central to lifelong fellowship as a Shriner.
Shriners find their best selves through building their own fun and fellowship experience. Yes, adulting and fun do go together. You can do both with Shriners. When you focus on fun, every activity transforms into fellowship.