Day 216: Circus, circus

Shriner rush hour.

Shriner rush hour.

Today, I made a donation to the Toronto Rameses Shrine Circus, a fundraising event for the Shriners Children’s Hospital.

I had a choice between making a donation or buying tickets to the circus but, frankly, clowns terrify me. (Even Cirque de Soleil unnerves me, if I’m being honest.)

So I went the donation route because it is a very good cause. I did a little research and found out that the Shriners’ network includes 22 hospitals in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

They specialize in treating orthopedic injuries, disease and burns for patients under age 18. And there is no charge for treatment at a Shriners Hospital. Nor any requirement for religion, race, or relationship to a Freemason (in case you were wondering).

So why the funny hats?
Back in 1870, a bunch of Freemasons (that super hush-hush secret society) got together and discussed launching a more “fun” branch of the outfit.

Soon after, one of the members involved in this discussion just so happened to attend a party in Marseilles hosted by an Arabian diplomat. And you know what those parties lead to… You don’t? Okay, sorry, read on.

The entertainment at the party inspired the original concept that became the “Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.),” complete with its own set of rituals, emblem, costumes, and, ta da, the trademark Fez hats.

I’m soooo tempted to make a Loyal Order of Water Buffalo joke here… but I’ll refrain….

P.S. A friend (thanks, Val) sent me this link, to a cool, clever song by Jason Mraz called “Wordplay.” Enjoy!

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