Demystifying Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction About the Shriners

The Shriners, also known as Shriners International, is a philanthropic organization that has been shrouded in mystery for many years. With their distinctive red fez hats and elaborate parades, the Shriners have captured the curiosity of many. However, there are also numerous myths and misconceptions surrounding this organization. In this article, we aim to demystify these myths and separate fact from fiction about the Shriners.

Who are the Shriners?

The Shriners is an appendant body of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization that promotes moral and ethical values among its members. Founded in 1870, the Shriners primarily focus on charitable work and community service. Their mission is to provide medical care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate through their network of specialized hospitals.

The Origins of the Fez Hat

One of the most recognizable symbols associated with the Shriners is their red fez hat. Contrary to popular belief, the fez hat does not have any religious or cultural significance within Freemasonry itself. It was adopted by the Shriners in 1872 during a visit to Mocha Temple in Constantinople (now Istanbul). The members were so impressed by the headgear worn by members of a local fraternity that they decided to adopt it as their own distinctive headwear.

What Do Shriners Do?

The primary focus of the Shriners is their philanthropic work through their network of specialized hospitals known as “Shriners Hospitals for Children.” These hospitals provide world-class medical care to children regardless of their ability to pay. They specialize in treating conditions such as scoliosis, clubfoot, cerebral palsy, cleft lip and palate, and burns. The Shriners also support medical research and education to improve the quality of care provided to children.

In addition to their medical endeavors, the Shriners also engage in various community service activities. They organize parades, fundraisers, and events to raise awareness and funds for their hospitals. These events not only serve as a means of promoting their cause but also provide entertainment for the communities they serve.

Becoming a Shriner

Becoming a Shriner is a process that starts with joining a Masonic lodge. Only Master Masons in good standing can become Shriners. Once a Master Mason expresses an interest in becoming a Shriner, he must go through an initiation ceremony known as the “Shrine Ceremonial.” This ceremony is meant to be lighthearted and entertaining while emphasizing the values of brotherhood and philanthropy.

It is important to note that membership in the Shriners is voluntary, and individuals are not recruited or coerced into joining. The decision to become a Shriner is entirely up to the individual Mason based on their personal beliefs and desire to contribute to charitable causes.


The Shriners are an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children through philanthropy and community service. Their distinctive fez hats and parades have often sparked curiosity, leading to various myths and misconceptions about who they really are. By demystifying these myths, we can better understand the true nature of this remarkable organization’s mission: providing world-class medical care for children in need.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.