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Shriners International Celebrates 150 Years

Join us as we celebrate 150 years of making the world a better place through fun, fellowship and philanthropy.
Shriners with a patient holding a Thank You Shriners sign

Shriners International is honored to celebrate 150 monumental years of tradition, brotherhood and giving. We have accomplished so much throughout this past century and a half, and look forward to the next generation of making a difference.

Throughout our history, Shriners International has expanded around the world, with members spread across six continents. More than three million men have proudly been able to call themselves Shriners and through our cherished philanthropy, Shriners Children's, we have helped improve the lives of more than 1.5 million children.

Interested in joining the tradition? Take the first step today at BeAShrinerNow.com.

Having Fun While Serving and Learning

Many wonder...what does a Shriner actually do? What's it like to be a member of a fraternity that has continued its mission for 150 years? 
Fraternity Engagement

Shriners International is a one-of-a-kind organization that enables its members to create an atmosphere that supports and promotes their own varied interests, while sharing those interests with other like-minded individuals. The possibilities for enjoying fun and camaraderie as a Shriner are endless.

Fraternal Fun & Fellowship
Culture and Tradition

Shriners International has a widely-renowned and unique culture of good men dedicated to bettering themselves and their communities. Steeped in tradition, Shriners are known for their fellowship, brotherhood, compassion and generosity, along with their iconic red fezzes.

Culture of Support & Service
Building Future Leaders

We believe that professional development and lifelong learning are essential for success and well-being. The Shriners International Education Foundation (SIEF) provides education and training that helps improve business, communication, technical, financial, leadership and other skills.

Educating Today's Leaders & Tomorrow's Visionaries
Shriners who are members of a pipes and drums unit, a patient, family, and law enforcement officers outside before parade

Traditional Values  & Mission - Cornerstones for Future Vision

Shriners International is a fraternal organization based on fun, fellowship and universal moral values, established to unite men and their families together to enrich our communities. Our mission to make the world a better place established our history, and is paving the way for our future.

Fraternal Milestones

Idea for a New Fraternity

Thirteen Masons met regularly at Knickerbocker Cottage in New York City. In 1870, Walter M. Fleming, M.D., took the first step of forming a new fraternity for Masons and established the Ritual for what is now Shriners International, which he cofounded with actor William J. "Billy" Florence.

Knickerbocker Cottage

A New Fraternity is Born

A meeting held on September 26, 1872, at old Masonic Hall on Thirteenth Street in New York City is recognized as the official founding of the fraternity, originally known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Mecca Shriners was also established as the first "temple" (chapter).

Historic Ritual staff

First Imperial Session

The first Imperial Session, the fraternity's annual business meeting, was held on June 6, 1876. The governing body of the fraternity was established, and great strides were made toward shaping what would eventually become an organization with hundreds of thousands of members throughout the world.

1876 Session badge

International Expansion Begins

Rameses Shriners, the first chapter outside the U.S., was chartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 1888. This established an early precedent of the fraternity welcoming men throughout the world who share the Shriners' philosophy and creed.

Rameses Canadian chapter marching in parade

Official Philanthropy Designation

In 1922, the fraternity began its official philanthropic efforts, opening the first Shriners Children's location in Shreveport, Louisiana. The first patient - a little girl with clubfoot - was seen on September 16, 1922. The fraternity continues to support the Shriners Children's healthcare system today.

First Shriners Children's hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana

First Sporting Event

On December 26, 1925, at San Francisco's Ewing Field, top college football players came together to play the first East-West Shrine Bowl, America's longest running college all-star football game. Shriners International continues to support a number of local, regional and national sporting events today, including the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Crowd and field at historic East-West Shrine game

Headquarters Moves to Tampa, Florida

On April 10, 1978, representatives voted to relocate the headquarters (from Chicago, Illinois) for both the fraternity and healthcare system to Tampa, Florida, where it remains today. The headquarters now features impressive exhibits and displays inside the building, and a Commemorative Plaza outside, to showcase our history and educate guests.

Shriners International headquarters

Name Change to Shriners International

Originally known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, the name of the fraternity has evolved over the years. In 2010, a resolution was passed to officially rename the fraternity Shriners International from Shriners of North America, to better reflect the fraternity's presence worldwide.

Shriners International flag design

Happy 100th Birthday to Shriners Children's!

As we celebrate 150 years, our philanthropy, Shriners Children's, is celebrating a milestone as well. The healthcare system's first hospital opened in 1922, making this their 100th year of helping children live their best lives.