Shriners are members of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Â Members of this organization are referred to as Shriners and are known in the US for their involvement in charitable activities. Â Most notably, Shriners operate more than 20 children’s’ hospitals across the US and these facilities specialize in the field of burns, orthopedics, and spinal cord injuries among others. Â In order to promote their organization and charitable cause, Shriners are known to join public parades in various cities across the US and in other countries. Â In most of these parades, Shriners typically ride in small cars often wearing a red hat and bizarre costumes.
The habit of riding on little cars during parades is said to be based on the Shriners’ rich tradition. Â Back in the past, Shriners organized different activities to raise funds for the hospitals they built in different cities. Â To make themselves visible and unique, Shriners often had a marching band when joining parades. Â All men also wore brightly colored costumes and some of them drove along with small cars. Â This practice has become a hit during parades and the tradition of wearing costumes and driving little cars were passed on from one generation of Shriners to the next.
With all their participation in parades and circuses, Shriners have become known to be “playful freemasons”. They are also strongly associated with doing charitable activities for children which also explains why their costumes and small cars appeal to kids as well. Â Aside from joining public parades, Shriners in the past also promoted their organization by joining the town circus. Â Â Events like this basically provide people a sense of the charitable works of the organization which specifically targets children. Â Across the US and other countries like Canada and Mexico, there are about half a million Shriners who participate in their organization’s various fund-raising activities.