All Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners. Shriners International is a derivative of Freemasonry, the oldest, largest and most well-known fraternity in the world. Freemasonry dates back hundreds of years, when stonemasons and other craftsmen would meet after work in shelters, houses, or hostels. To become a Shriner, a man must first be a Mason.
The Freemasonry fraternity is the oldest, largest and most well-known fraternity in the world. It dates back hundreds of years, when stonemasons and other artisans who worked on construction projects would meet in shelters, houses, or shelters. Over the years, formal Masonic lodges emerged, with members united not by trade, but by their own desire to be fraternal brothers. The basic unit of Masonry is the Blue Lodge, where members obtain the first three Masonic degrees.
There is no higher degree than Master Mason (the Third Degree), but for those men who wish to further explore the allegory and symbolism learned at the Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite, they delve into the basic principles of Masonry. Shriners International is an international fraternity of approximately 300,000 members who belong to sanctuary temples around the world. Founded in New York City in 1872, the organization is comprised solely of Master Masons, Grade 32 Scottish Rite Masons, or York Rite Masons of the Knights Templar. The Sanctuary is best known for its colorful parades, its distinctive red Fez, and its official philanthropic organization, Shriners Hospitals for Children, which are often referred to as “the heart and soul of the Sanctuary”.
The symbol represents the 300,000 Shriners who are the backbone of the Sanctuary. The two claws represent the two divisions of the Sanctuary, the Shriners International fraternity and the charity Shriners Hospitals for Children, linked in the center by the head of a sphinx representing the Imperial Council of Shriners International, the Sanctuary's governing body. The star that hangs between the claws represents the stars of the Sanctuary, the thousands of children we care for every year. The red Fez with a black tassel is one of the most distinctive symbols of Shriners International.
Its name derives from the place where it was first manufactured: the holy city of Fez, Morocco. The Fez was chosen as part of the Shrine's Arab (Near East) theme, around which its color and pomp unfold. The members of Shriners International adhere to three principles: brotherly love, relief and truth. Unlike more conservative work done by Freemasonry lodges, Shriners enjoy life for philanthropic purposes.
Their optimistic philosophy has been described as pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness and joy without coarseness. Masons run many of the world's best charitable organizations. The best known are Shriners Hospitals for Children with their circuses and colorful parades that work on behalf of children with physical disabilities. Every Shriner must be a Mason before becoming a Shriner.
Once accepted as an apprentice bricklayer to a Craft Lodge, each member is promoted to three degrees: Entered Apprentice (First Degree), Fellow Craft (Second Degree) and Master Mason (Third Degree). To obtain each degree a Mason must learn certain lessons and participate in a ceremony that illustrates them.