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Thinking enhances analysis and therefore, it is good to begin with who are the Shriners? Having its foundation laid back in 1870, in Manhattan, the body aims to achieve human welfare. The mission bespeaks in ensuring the highest quality care to children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries, and other special healthcare needs within a peaceful and friendly environment. It also aims to train physicians and healthcare professionals at their best in order to make them beneficial members of the organization. The research work is also carried out to explore newer techniques so to improve the standards of life and quality of health care. This mission is carried out without regard to race, color, creed, sex or sect, disability, national origin, or ability of a patient or family to pay. On a surface level, this seems so strenuous, but if the cause is greater than the hard work, one would surely give it a try. This noble initiative not only suffices soul with gratification and contentment but also if one can bring smiles to others face, that makes a day. With this aim, Shriners march with tasseled hats, raising their voices for brotherhood and welfare. In addition to this, a friendly environment also channelizes healthier interaction among the individuals and on a factual basis, it helps the Shriner a lot to convince people to participate in such charity works.
Nothing initiates without an effort and alike is the case with the effortful fellows who laid bricks of fun and fellowship. It is definitely not surprising now that Masonry having had its imprints since middle ages, previously a narrowed concept of labor ritual had then been taken up by contemplative minds Walter M. Fleming, M.D, and Billy Florence. In the past, Masonry had deep-rooted struggle for the betterment of the communities. The idea of planning and structuring the organization akin a Near East-themed clicked Florence after he had been invited to an Arabian diplomat’s party. Fleming gave the title to this juvenile along with a skeleton of rites and rituals. Identity is what makes something unique and bearing due regard for this; the two men crafted the red fez with a black tassel as official headgear. The local Shriners chapters were then entitled as Temples. Mecca Shriners embraced initiation in New York City, 1872. Without adequate public relations, the Membership would not have that exponentially grown as it happened to be in early 1900s across US, Canada, Mexico, and Panama. More or less, 400,000 Shriners belong to 191 chapters in the respective regions.
Certainly, with the passage of time passed away or so to say, declined the need of masons, so they evolved as an organization, broadening their hearts for the members who were not artisans either. Previously, the labor was more functional in terms of building and structuring, but, with the emergence of technologies in the developmental world, welfare was more needed than laborious work. The intent reflected nourishing communities upon which Masonry operates in the present time. As Shriners have Temples, so Masonry has Blue Lodge or Craft Lodge. Under this wing, members earn a degree titled as Master Masons and they can embrace Shriners fraternity later. For those who prospect further can have supplementary courses of study like Scottish Rite and York Rite. So, it would not be wrong to opine that all Shriners are Freemasons but not all Freemasons are Shriners.
Learn more: How To Become A Freemason?
Squeezing in, why do the rhombus-shaped red hats feel so blazing? The Shriners wearing such hats flame the streets and crowds voicing their purpose. Now, what specifically coined fez as the official headgear? The Moroccan radiance does it well. Yes! The fez that has originated to portray Near East theme was named after Fez, Morocco.
The headgear is as functional as the member himself because the fez gains attention during outings and parades while the wearer persuades public for fraternity, the aim of Shriners, Shriners Hospitals for Children. Not to forget, the fez has its own rules. Those wearing these headgears have to strictly obey these obligations.
Only certain ranking Shriners Terms and Titles Shriners may have their titles on their fez, and the tassel can only be secured with two pins or clasps on the left side of the fez. Too limiting? But not wrong.
The Crescent is the symbol of Shriners’ fraternity with the engraved Robur et Furor” means Strength and Fury. It is composed of the claws of a tiger, united in the middle with the head of a sphinx. (Sounds too wild! There is its symbolic significance). Where the claws symbolize Shriners fraternity, the sphinx represents the governing body of the Shriners and the star refers to the thousands of children aided by the philanthropy every year.
Greetings and Salutations
The Shriners say Es Selamu Aleikum with the response being Aleikum Es Selamu to pay their greetings. The former refers to peace be with you and the latter blesses saying, with you be peace.
This is such a beautiful greeting to promote companionship. It not only reduces the hesitation of greeting someone at first but also is a kind of prayer given to someone. What could be more precious than it?
The Chain of Command
The Shriners hierarchy plays a crucial role in organizing and administrating the chief purposes. The chapters are the initial or the basic levels.
Locally elected officers run Divan, a government bureau. The bigwig is the Potentate as the name indicates, he has power and position over the subordinates and the second in command is the Chief Rabban.
Both work in coordination to regulate the chain. As stated earlier, the units are formed within chapters and the remarkable one is the unit of clowns and the motor patrols.
It is not only limited to this but they also offer various other trendy opportunities to the interests. For instance, they are golfing, boating, classic cars, and even motorcycles.
Thus, anyone can opt for anything. When there is so much to regulate and supervise, so arises a need of having chosen head having all authority and power. The group of representatives called the Imperial Council makes policies and legislation.
In these yearly meetings, new strategies of extending fraternity and philanthropy. Representatives strive to become one of the 13 members of the Imperial Divan. The Imperial Potentate is the chief executive officer of Shriners International. His service tenure lasts for a year.
Women and Shriners
Though women cannot be Shriners directly but they can work for several organizations. This protocol is usually available to Shriners’ women e.g., their wives, daughters, granddaughters, and nieces.
Few institutions include Daughters of the Nile, Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America, Shrine Guilds of America, and Order of The Eastern Star.
Daughters of the Nile works for the donation of prostheses, quilts, toys, and volunteer hours. They have contributed almost million dollars for the sake of philanthropy.
Similarly, Ladies Oriental Shrine of North America founded in 1903, assists hospital funding and sewing projects. They promote welfare of the Shriners families.
Shrine Guilds of America, established in 1947, aids Shriners hospital and also Order of the Eastern Star strives to strengthen morals of members. It is considered to be the widest fraternal organization both for men and women. Also, it initiated in mid-1800s and has contributed to many charities.
Kids Count, Too
Kids have also left no stone unturned to promote welfare. This is due to the fact that goodwill doesn’t see any age limit nor does it requires heavier sum of money.
What is most needed is a sympathetic heart and motivation to start for the good cause. Despite meager resources, some people invest more in charity works than what they can actually afford. This is the basis of humanism and it pays off. If not in materialistic terms, then surely mental satisfaction is gained.
Kids have the kindest hearts. Order of DeMolay is a Masonic-sponsored international organization for young men ages 12-21 that focuses on developing civic awareness, personal responsibility, and leadership skills. It focuses on improving personal as well as professional skills.
The International Order of Job’s Daughters is an organization of young women ages 10-20 who are related to a Master Mason. Members participate in social activities, service projects, and charitable works. Job’s Daughters actively supports the Hearing Impaired Kids Endowment Fund, which purchases hearing assistive devices for children.
As aforementioned, the Shriners intend to beneficiate the deserving children, particularly those who are less privileged. Thus, these organizations present a canvas of helping the needy within the limited approach that these teenagers have.
Rainbow Girls, originally founded by a member of the Masonic Lodge, is now open to girls ages 11-20, regardless of Masonic affiliation. Members participate in service projects and fundraisers while focusing on seven “colors” of character, emphasizing love, religion, nature, immortality, fidelity, patriotism, and service.
It would not be deniable that the thought of betterment leads to betterment. For a good cause, one needs a good heart and that only comes with inner initiative, inspiration that lasts longer than the wealth.