Shriners International is a fraternity of men devoted to their families, focused on personal growth, and committed to helping children and families in need. With diverse backgrounds and interests, members are united by their shared values and aspirations for fun, goodwill, and lasting friendships.
In 1870, a group of Masons, including Walter M. Fleming and William J. “Billy” Florence, regularly gathered for lunch at New York City’s Knickerbocker Cottage. They often discussed creating a new Masonic fraternity centered on fun and camaraderie rather than ritual.
Inspired by an Arabian-themed party he attended in France, Florence proposed an Arabian motif for the new organization, which Fleming then developed into the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.).
With assistance from the Knickerbocker Cottage regulars, Fleming designed the ritual, emblem, costumes, and salutation for the new fraternity, and declared that members would wear the red fez.
The first temple, Mecca Shriners, was established in the United States on September 26, 1872. As the organization gained popularity, it expanded across the U.S. and into Canada, Mexico, and Panama. Today, Shriners International consists of nearly 200 temples worldwide, with hundreds of thousands of members dedicated to brotherly love, relief, and truth.
The fez, adopted as the Shriners’ official headwear in 1872, is one of the fraternity’s most recognizable symbols. Named after the Moroccan city of Fez, the hat embodies the Arabian theme on which the organization was founded and signifies membership within the fraternity. Shriners wear their fez at functions, parades, and outings to promote their brotherhood. Members personalize their fez to display their temple allegiance, Shrine club memberships, special roles within the organization, and more.
Shriners International experienced significant growth after World War II, as returning soldiers sought camaraderie similar to what they had experienced with their fellow servicemen. With the increase in temples and members came a rise in the hospitals’ endowment, which reached $125 million by 1958. The Shrine Circus, established in 1906, became a crucial fundraiser in support of the hospitals.
Presently, nearly 200 temples are spread across North and South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. These temples host events throughout the year, from fish fries and concerts to car shows and fishing tournaments, all with the purpose of supporting the Shriners Hospitals for Children®.
The Northeast Fall Field Days took place in Fredericton during the weekend of September 23-25th, featuring a grand parade with clowns, mini cars, and bands, all marching through downtown Fredericton.
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