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Shriners International is a fraternal organization of men who are dedicated to brotherhood, compassion and service to others. Founded in New York City in 1872, Shriners International is composed of Master Masons. Today, there are more than 200,000 Shriners throughout the world.

Shriners are known for their colorful parades, distinctive red hat (called a fez) and their official philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children®. Shriners come from all walks of life: movie stars, CEOs - even a couple of U.S. presidents (Harry Truman and Gerald Ford) have been Shriners. Shriners are also educators, storeowners, business professionals ... the list is virtually endless. Shriners are men who enjoy life, are family-oriented and are looking for fun, fellowship and belonging. Shriners are also committed to helping children and families in need.
Below are some of the frequently asked questions we receive about becoming a Shriner:

What’s the difference between being a Mason and being a Shriner?

While it is true that Shriners are Masons, not all Masons are Shriners. Shriners International provides unique opportunities for fun, fellowship and philanthropy – opportunities not often found in other fraternal organizations. Shriners established and continue to help support the Shriners Hospitals for Children health care system through volunteering and fundraising. Shriners also have many opportunities for fellowship and camaraderie through events held by local Shriners chapters.

What is the prerequisite for membership in Shriners International?

To become a Shriner, you must first be a Master Mason in good standing in a lodge recognized by, or in amity with, the Conference of Grand Masters of North America, the Interamerican Masonic Confederation (CMI) and/or the World Conference of Grand Lodges.

How do I join?

If you're already a Master Mason and you’ve decided to join Shriners International, you may approach a Shriner or a local Shriners chapter to request a petition for membership, or you may complete the form available on this site. The electronic version will be submitted directly to the chapter office after which you will be contacted by the chapter leadership with specifics on petitioning fees and dues, and a schedule for balloting and Ceremonial.

If you're not yet a Mason, take the next step to becoming a Shriner! Visit our "Join" page to start the process of identifying a Masonic Lodge close to you. You will be working closely with individuals from these locations as you advance through the path to becoming a Shriner. Congratulations, you are on your way!

What would be my responsibilities as a Shriner?

Shriners help support our philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children, by volunteering at the health care system’s locations, participating in fundraising activities, and by referring children who may benefit from the specialized medical care provided by the health care system. Additionally, every Shriner is expected to help the fraternity grow by recruiting new members and being as active in his chapter as possible.

How can I be involved?

Chapters sponsor various Shriners units for the purpose of bringing Shriners together who share similar interests. These could include Taprooms & Brewers, Rod & Gun Units, Cigar Smokers, and any other current interests. Anything you can envision can be developed into an interest-based unit.

Can my family participate?

Shriners chapters are broadening their base by providing unique opportunities for families. Chapters host Easter Egg Hunts, Super Bowl watch parties and other events, which are not only family-friendly, but also cater to heightened family involvement.

Women play an important role in chapter life as well, with many opportunities for involvement through these ladies' organizations: Daughters of the Nile, the Ladies’ Oriental Shrine of North America, Shrine Guilds of America and the Order of the Eastern Star.

Young men between the ages of 12 and 21 may participate in activities hosted by DeMolay International, a fraternal organization founded by a Shriner-Mason, which is mainly sponsored by Freemasonry.

Young ladies may participate in activities hosted by Job’s Daughters International (ages 10 to 20) or the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (age 11 to 20).

What is the relationship between Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children?

The governing body of Shriners International voted to adopt a centralized charity in 1920 and founded Shriners Hospitals for Children in 1922. The fraternity continues to help support the health care system. Members assist by raising funds, providing transportation for patients and their families, volunteering on hospital boards, and much more.

How are my annual dues structured?

Each chapter’s dues vary. Typically, however, a portion of your dues is paid to Shriners International as a per-capita tax, and a $5 assessment goes to help support Shriners Hospitals for Children. The balance is used for chapter operations. Lifetime, prepayment membership options may be available for each portion of your annual dues/renewal fees.

Where are the meetings held?

With almost 200 chapters in nine countries, Shriners International has a wide fraternal footprint. Regular meetings are held at the Shriners headquarters (or chapter), but some areas may not have a chapter location in close proximity. To fill this void, chapters often sponsor local Shriners clubs that meet in the remote areas away from their chapter locations. These clubs offer fun and fellowship for Shriners who may not be able to attend chapter meetings due to proximity or schedule.

What is the induction ceremony like?

Chapters host “ceremonial sessions,” which are used for the initiation ceremonies. These ceremonies are somber and serious, evoking the conscious focus on our mission to unite in fellowship and help children and families in need. Some chapters utilize educational presentations to help demonstrate our cause. Depending on schedules, chapters may hold an abbreviated ceremony with the recommendation that a full ceremonial be held later.

Why is it called Shriners International?

While it is true that Shriners International was first established in New York City, the fraternity quickly spread among Masonic communities across the United States, Canada (1888), Mexico (1907) and Panama (1918). Lately, the growth has expanded even further into the international realm, with chapters forming in Puerto Rico and the Philippines (2010), Germany (2011), Brazil (2015) and Bolivia (2018).

Where did the Arabian theme come from?

Similar to college fraternities that use a Greek motif, the organization’s founders modeled the iconography, ceremonies and theme after an Arabian-nights themed party one of them had attended while touring Europe.

When was the first Shriners chapter established?

Mecca Shriners was established in New York City in 1872.

Why do Shriners wear a fez?

The red fez with the black tassel is one of the fraternity’s most distinctive symbols. Derived from the city of Fez, Morocco, the fez was chosen as the official headgear of the fraternity to complement the organization’s pomp and pageantry, theme, ceremonies and events.

What is a Shriners Legacy?

The Shriners Legacy program was established to recognize those who establish a family tradition of fraternal membership. Multiple Shriners within the same family (fathers and sons, grandfathers, nephews, uncles, in-laws, brothers and others) may receive a handsome certificate and lapel pin recognizing their legacy.
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