Frequently Asked Questions
- What significance does the emblem play?
Just like Mercedes-Benz is known for its three-pointed-star symbol, the Shriners fraternity is known for its Crescent, or “Jewel of the Order.” Carrying on the Near East theme, the emblem is composed of the claws of a tiger, united in the middle with the head of a sphinx. On the back of the emblem are a pyramid, urn and star. Additionally, the emblem bears the motto “Robur et Furor,” which means “Strength and Fury.” The Crescent hangs from a scimitar, while a five-pointed star dangles from the sphinx.
Just as Mercedes’ star represents something - domination of land, sea and air - so does the Shriners’ emblem. The scimitar stands for the backbone of the fraternity, its members. The two claws are for the Shriners fraternity and its philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children®. The sphinx is representative of the governing body of the Shriners, while the star hanging beneath it represents the thousands of children helped by the philanthropy every year.
- Where did the fraternity’s theme come from?
The fraternity’s distinctive theme comes from founders Billy Florence, an actor, and Walter Fleming, a physician. Fleming and Florence wanted the fledgling fraternity to have a colorful, exciting backdrop and it’s believed that Florence conceived the Arabic theme after a tour of Europe.
It’s important to know that, although the original roots of the theme carried an aura of mystery, Shriners International is not a secret society.
- How long does it take to become a Freemason?
Becoming a Freemason varies by Lodge and by state. Some states may offer accelerated programs like one day classes. Your mentor will help you learn what is available in your state. A typical timeframe is about 6 months from start to Master Mason.
- How can I support Shriners Hospitals for Children?
There are many ways to support the philanthropy, including volunteering at a Shriners Hospitals for Children®, transporting patients to the hospital for care or visiting the kids in the hospital. You can also support the hospitals by hosting fundraisers to benefit the philanthropy or by making donations to Shriners Hospitals for Children®. For information about the many giving opportunities available visit www.donate2shc.org or call 800-241-GIFT (4438).
- What are the responsibilities of a Shriner?
Each Shriner is expected to help the fraternity grow by recruiting new members and being as active as possible. Shriners also support the philanthropy, Shriners Hospitals for Children®, by volunteering time at the hospitals, participating in fund raising activities and helping identify children who may benefit from the expert medical care provided by the hospitals.
- What type of care does Shriners Hospitals for Children provide?
Shriners Hospitals for Children® is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. The hospitals focus on four specialized areas of care:
Orthopaedic Care – medical and rehabilitative services for children with congenital deformities and conditions, problems resulting from orthopaedic injuries, and diseases of the neuromusculoskelatal system
Burn Care – treatment for acute and non-acute burn injuries and related scarring, along with physical and emotional rehabilitation
Spinal Cord Injury – spinal cord injury rehabilitation specifically for children, offering some of the most advanced treatment in the country, with full range of services
Cleft Lip and Palate Care – coordinated, comprehensive multidisciplinary care for children with this condition
- What is the relationship between Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children®?
Shriners International is the fraternity that founded Shriners Hospitals for Children® in 1922. Today, Shriners International continues to support the hospitals by raising funds, assisting patients’ families with transportation, volunteering on hospital boards and much more.
Children from birth to age 18 receive expert specialty medical care at these hospitals, regardless of the families' ability to pay, thanks to the efforts of Shriners and other generous supporters. In addition, many Shriners Hospitals for Children® facilities are engaged in medical research and are affiliated with the top academic medical institutions in North America.
The fraternity and hospitals are legally and financially separate – each are audited by independent auditors. In addition, temples are incorporated as chapters of the fraternity and are audited individually.
- What is Masonry and how does it relate to Shriners International?
In order to become a Shriner, a man must first be a Master Mason. The fraternity of Freemasonry is the oldest, largest and most widely known fraternity in the world. It dates back hundreds of years to a time when stonemasons and other craftsmen on building projects gathered in shelter houses, or lodges. Over the years formal Masonic lodges emerged, with members bound together not by trade, but by their desire to be fraternal brothers.
The basic unit of Masonry is the Blue Lodge, where members earn the first three Masonic degrees. The highest degree is Master Mason. Men who wish to become Shriners must first achieve Master Mason status – that means all Shriners are Masons, but not all Masons are Shriners.
- Why do Shriners wear a fez?
The red fez with the black tassel is one of the fraternity’s most distinctive symbols. It derives its name from the place where it was first manufactured, the city of Fez, Morocco. The fez was chosen as part of the Shriners’ Arabic theme, which is also the basis for the color and pageantry of the organization’s events.
- Can women become Shriners?
Alongside most Shriners is a supportive woman. While it’s true that women aren’t official members of the Shriners fraternity, they play a very important role in many aspects of our organization. There are also several groups for women that support the fraternity and the philanthropy. These include Daughters of the Nile, Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America, Shrine Guilds of America, Inc. and Order of the Eastern Star. Organizations for children and young people include DeMolay International, Job’s Daughters International and the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.