“Pleasure without intemperance, hospitality without rudeness and jollity without coarseness.”
Bounded by the oath of loyalty, The Shriners is an organization that’s known as the ‘Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine’. Running socially beneficial projects mostly, The Shriners have based their operations on the principles of truth, relief and brotherly love.
The history of Elf Khurafeh Shrine goes way back to 1870. New York City’s Knickerbocker Cottage on the Sixth Avenue was often visited by the Masons, who enjoyed each other’s company and had good time. Actor William J. “Billy” Florence and Dr. Walter M. Fleming were among the regulars at this gathering and started talking about initiating a new fraternity for Masons.
Billy Florence got an opportunity to attend a party in France, hosted by an Arabian diplomat. Arabia is known for its exotic food flavors, expressive dancing style and melodious beats. The party came as an inspiration for Florence who proposed an Arabian-themed fraternity to Fleming. Thus, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.) was formed.
Temples were established throughout the United States, Elf Khurafeh Shrine Temple being the 99th one. 101 acres land was acquired in Saginaw, Michigan, that serves as the base for the Elf Khurafeh Shrine. Every year Elf Khurafeh arranges two Shrine Circuses that while providing entertainment to the patrons also act as fund raiser for the Shrine’s operations. Shrine Circus tickets remain in huge demand as people come all out to support the noble efforts.
Keeping in mind the happiness and fun that the nobles intended to bring to the Michigan area, name Elf Khurafeh was adopted that means “1,000 gathered fruits”. As the word spread about all the goodness that the temple was promoting, by 1910 the jurisdiction of 26 counties falling under northeastern section of the Lower Peninsula was given to Elf Khurafeh. By then more than 680 members had joined the Shrine and to accommodate the growing members, a land of 101 acres was purchased.
A lot of construction was done on it – pavilion was built, separate space was allocated to facilitate the Elf Khurafeh’s clubs and units and camping ground was furbished. With the dawn of 2016, more than 1,500 members had joined the Shrine as it promoted many significant causes.
Elf Khurafeh Shrine Rituals
After the Elf Khurafeh Shrine Temple broke ground, its founders Billy Florence and Walter Fleming developed rituals and salutation that are followed by all the members.
The Fez – A red cap, Fez is the most recognizable symbol of all The Shriners. Officially adopted in 1872 as the custom headgear of all Shriners, it finds its roots in Fez, Morocco, which is also how it got its name. Inspired from the Arabian culture, Fez is worn on all the functions arranged by the Elf Khurafeh Shrine and it’s a way for the members show their allegiance.
The Emblem – It’s the pride of the Elf Khurafeh fraternity. Placed in front of the Fez, it comprises of a scimitar from which hangs a crescent and star. The scimitar stands as the fraternity’s backbone and the values it’s built on; whereas, the star represents the countless children that were helped and found refuge with the philanthropy. The phrase “Robur et Furor” is embedded on the emblem and it means “Strength and Fury”.
Brotherhood – Dedicated to providing the best of care and facilities to families and children, Elf Khurafeh builds long-lasting relationships. Even though people come from diverse backgrounds, they are connected through brotherhood, mutual respect and empathy.
Fun – It’s like a second name of the Elf Khurafeh Shrine. Engaging activities, picnics, exciting events and circuses, all make it a fun fraternity.
Shrine Circuses are held annually on multiple dates in Flint and Saginaw. In its 75th year, the circus is the primary fundraiser event that covers most of the Elf Khurafeh Shrine expenses and causes. The 2018 Shrine Circus ticket prices come with various options, allowing you to choose according to your budget. Don’t miss out on jaw-dropping acts and incredible acrobatic stunts. Here are some of the many attractions that the Shrine Circus offers.
The Carden Elephants – These giant, intelligent animals have long been a part of different circuses and the Shrine Circus Presented by Koegel’s is no exception. The Asian elephants have been picked up from the wild and the management is committed to first-class treatment and care. As these elephants go through training that includes muscle building program, they are encouraged through praise and food rewards. Be amazed as these 8,000-pound creatures put all weight on their lower abdomen and stand up on their hind legs.
Royal Bengal Tigers Presented by Ryan Easley – Adding thrill to the circus are the dynamic and dangerous tigers, who are untamed and perform solely on the cues of their courageous trainer. Due to their unpredictable behavior they are kept inside a big steel cage and perform stunts from there.
Rolly & Beau – A clown-dog act, Rolly and Beau have won hearts with their endearing performances. Rolly comes with years of experience and his hilarious, clown antics bring a lot of laughter to the circus. Equally talented is his companion Beau who has been trained quite expertly. He performs and follows every command with perfection.
The Real Steel Riders – Four daring riders enter a steel globe and barrel around it in rhythmic motions. Precision and speed is the key in this act that keeps the audience at the edge of their seats.
And a Whole Lot More – Slavik & Shurik, the two delightful clowns are also part of the Shrine Circus team and the will make it a fun-filled experience for you and your kids. For those looking for intense entertainment, catch the Wheels of Destiny that’s all about nail-biting action and drama. Steady composure and precision is presented by Duo Leyva, who thrills the audience with his unique bow and arrow act. There is also an amazing laser light show that will leave you in awe.
With all the good that the Elf Khurafeh Shrine has been doing, the members hope to build on its legacy. New generation is being encouraged to continue this historic tradition that reaches across a wide spectrum.