Difference Wiki

Shriners vs. Masons: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on March 2, 2024
Shriners are a fraternal organization affiliated with Freemasonry, focusing on philanthropy and social activities; Masons are members of Freemasonry, emphasizing moral and spiritual values.

Key Differences

Shriners are a distinct subset within Freemasonry, known for their distinctive fez headwear and commitment to children's hospitals. Masons, the larger group to which Shriners belong, are a centuries-old fraternal organization with a focus on moral uprightness and community service.
Shriners are recognized for their charitable efforts, particularly in running specialized hospitals for children, while Masons engage in a wide range of community services and personal development activities. Both groups share a foundation in Masonic principles, but Shriners have a more specific philanthropic mission.
Membership in the Shriners is exclusive to Masons who have reached a certain degree of Masonic advancement. In contrast, Masons have a broader membership criterion, open to men of good character who believe in a Supreme Being, regardless of specific religious affiliation.
The Shriners are known for their public, festive parades and colorful attire, aiming to promote community engagement and joy. Masons, while also engaged in community activities, are more discreet in their gatherings, focusing on symbolic rituals and moral teachings.
In terms of internal structure, Shriners operate their own chapters, known as Shrine Temples or Shriner's Clubs, under the larger umbrella of Freemasonry. Masons, on the other hand, are organized into Lodges, each functioning with a degree of autonomy under the general principles of Freemasonry.

Comparison Chart


Must be a Master Mason
Open to men of good moral standing


Philanthropy, especially children's healthcare
Moral and spiritual development, community service

Public Visibility

Known for parades and fez hats
More reserved and private

Organizational Structure

Shrine Temples/Clubs
Masonic Lodges

Historical Origin

Founded in 1870 as an ancillary organization
Originates from medieval stonemasons, formalized in 1717

Shriners and Masons Definitions


Participants in a brotherhood emphasizing fun, fellowship, and philanthropy.
The Shriners are hosting a community event to bring people together for a good cause.


Participants in a worldwide brotherhood promoting ethical living and charitable work.
Local Masons volunteered at the food bank this weekend.


A member of a fraternal organization known for philanthropic efforts, especially in children's healthcare.
The Shriners organized a fundraiser for their children's hospital.


Members of the Freemasonry fraternity, focused on moral and spiritual self-improvement.
Masons meet regularly at their lodge to discuss community service projects.


Members of an organization that operates a network of specialized hospitals for children.
The Shriners Hospital provides exceptional care for children with orthopedic conditions.


Members of a group known for its secret rituals and signs.
Masons have a long tradition of using symbols and allegories in their teachings.


Affiliated members of Freemasonry, distinguished by their red fez hats.
At the parade, the Shriners wore their iconic fez hats.


Persons involved in a fraternity that values philosophical study, community service, and fellowship.
The Masons organized a lecture series on moral philosophy for their members.


A group within Freemasonry known for their unique rituals and social activities.
He became a Shriner after reaching the Master Mason degree.


Individuals belonging to a historic and symbolic organization with roots in stonemasonry.
Masons trace their ceremonial practices back to the guilds of medieval stonemasons.


A member of a US secret fraternal order that is not Masonic but that admits only Knights Templars and 32nd-degree Masons as members.


One who builds or works with stone or brick.


Mason A Freemason.


To build of or strengthen with masonry.


Plural of mason


Infl of mason


Who can become a Shriner?

Only Master Masons in good standing are eligible to become Shriners.

What is the main focus of the Shriners?

Philanthropy, particularly supporting children's hospitals.

Do Shriners have special attire?

Yes, they are famous for wearing a red fez hat.

What is a Mason?

A member of the Freemasonry fraternity, focusing on moral and spiritual values.

What is a Shriner?

A member of a Masonic fraternity known for philanthropy and colorful parades.

How does one become a Mason?

By applying to a Masonic lodge and meeting their moral and character standards.

Can women be Shriners?

Traditionally, Shriners are male, but related organizations exist for women.

What is the main goal of Masonry?

To promote ethical living, personal development, and community service.

What activities do Masons engage in?

Moral and spiritual development, charitable work, and community service.

Are Masons and Shriners the same?

Shriners are a subset of Masons with a specific philanthropic focus.

How old is Freemasonry?

Its origins trace back to medieval stonemason guilds, with formal organization in the early 18th century.

Do Masons and Shriners have secret rituals?

Both have private ceremonies and symbols, but their main objectives are public and charitable.

What kind of charity work do Shriners do?

Primarily operating children's hospitals and providing free medical care.

What is the significance of the Masonic apron?

It's a symbol of a Mason's commitment to live an upright and ethical life.

Do Masons have women members?

Traditional Masonic lodges are male-only, but co-masonic and female lodges exist.

Are Shriners religious?

Shriners, like Masons, require a belief in a Supreme Being but are not religiously specific.

Is there a women's equivalent to Shriners?

Yes, organizations like the Daughters of the Nile and Ladies' Oriental Shrine.

Can anyone visit a Masonic Lodge?

Lodges often host open days, but regular meetings are members-only.

What is the historical background of the Shriners?

Founded in 1870 as a more social and fun extension of Freemasonry.

Do Shriners and Masons contribute to local communities?

Yes, both emphasize community service and local philanthropy.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons