Hilaal Temple #229
Oasis of Petersburg
Desert of Virginia
PLEDGE OF THE NOBILITY
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, as citizens, to conduct ourselves with due propriety, conforming to our established laws, in cooperation with our nation and its authorized officials.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to maintain exacting high standards in our respective community life, that “DEMOCRACY” may become a living reality.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to the promotion, along with other thoughtful citizens, of modern and practical legislation enacted by any government agency that will redound to the benefit of our “AMERICAN” way of life.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to support duly constituted authority for the elimination of anti-social conditions, wherever found to exist, that we and all other people may enjoy a rich, round and full life.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to morally support and encourage every social agency that has for its purpose the maintenance of the highest ideals of the people of the nation.
WE PLEDGE OURSELVES, to cooperate fully in disseminating “TRUTH”, among the people of the earth, to the end that “DEMOCRACY” shall prevail forever, and the peace of every nation be preserved.
The red fez with the black tassel, the Shrine’s most distinctive symbol, has been handed down through the ages. It was named for the city of Fez, the metropolis of Morocco, which was the seat of numerous schools, libraries, and a famous university. Fez formerly had a monopoly on the manufacture of that peculiar form of headdress because it controlled the juice of the berry used to color the fezzes. Since the discovery of synthetic aniline colors, however, they were manufactured in France, Germany, and Austria. At the turn of the century, Austria was the chief center of the fez industry. The countries where the fezzes were extensively used did not have a single fez manufacturing plant.
The shape of the cap is a truncated cone familiar to all the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. It was made of red felt, having a black tassel inserted in the middle of the top and hanging down. Although the shape and the tassel of the fez known to the nobles are such as are generally used throughout turkey, yet in Tunisia, Tripoli, and Morocco, the fezzes are twice or three times as long as the popular type, and have blue silk tassels much longer and heavier than those seen in America and Turkey.
In the early part of the nineteenth century, the fez was made a part of the Turkish official dress by Mahmoul II, Sultan of Turkey. It was considered the special badge of a Turkish subject and he, even if not a Moslem, was obliged to wear it. Women, as well as men, wore fezzes but theirs were invariably small and without tassels.
Soon after the inauguration of the new Turkish regime by the young Turks, a national misunderstanding arose between the Turkish and Austrian peoples, and the former vowed they would boycott all Austrian goods including the fez. Destroying the fezzes, which they had and refusing to buy new ones, the people throughout turkey, for some months, covered their heads with Persian caps or with any headgear, which they could improvise.
The fez was worn either with or without a turban by Moslems, Christians, and Jews. The Turkish soldiers and officialdom in Turkey, including the Sultan, with the exception of certain ecclesiastical dignitaries, wore their fezzes without the turban. Among the Moslems, those who can trace their genealogy back to Mohammed wore green turbans, all others wore white or some color agreeable to local custom, personal taste or fancy.
The conventional uniform for Nobles of the Mystic Shrine was full evening dress with a red fez, usually bearing the name of the temple, in addition to the crescent and the sphinx head embroidered in gold.
About 980 a.d. when the pilgrimages to Mecca were interrupted by the crusades, Mohammedans and those of the Moslem faith living west of the Nile, journeyed to Fez as to the Holy City. A manufacturer in Fez supplied to the students, of a great school, a scarlet tarboosh, which was the insignia of the school. This was the means by which students were readily recognized. Pilgrims, who wore similar pieces of headgear, as the tarboosh was called, carried the fez. The fez soon came to be worn all along the northern shores of Africa, and its use gradually extended east of the Nile.
The fez has significance to Shriners. It represents a pyramid and the top is flat. The flat-top stands for the uncompleted portion of the pyramid. The tassel represents a cable used to raise the capstone and place it where needed. Under the fez, the wearer's head represents the vault where the treasures of the order are preserved and stored. As a pyramid houses wisdom, so the fez, worn by Shriners and Daughters of Isis, houses wisdom in the brain. The red fez also represents the skill and wisdom of the men who erected the great pyramids. Jewels embedded in the fez have special symbolic meaning to all Prince Hall Shriners and Daughters of Isis members. The scimitar has three edges, symbolizing the three principal stages of human life, youth, manhood, and age.
The white fez worn by women is for Isis, the Egyptian Goddess of the moon. The Daughters of Isis members, the auxiliary to Prince Hall Shriners, dress in white for all formal occasions, from the tip of their white pumps to the top of their tiaras (fezzes). Prince Hall Shriners and Daughters of Isis members wear their fezzes as proudly as Kings and Queens wear their crowns. In order that the public might better understand, a brief guide is offered to further explain about the fez.
On all public and private occasions, members of the order dress in their gaily-colored costumes and wear their red and white fezzes during outdoor parades and pageants, indoor activities, and at private meetings held in temples, courts and shrine clubs. Fezzes are removed during prayer and presentation of the American Flag, unless the wearer elects to salute the colors in military fashion.
Fezzes were the headgear of Turkish men and are now known worldwide as a trademark. Each fez worn by a Prince Hall Shriner has a black silk tassel, which may be up to 18 inches long, held by a silver and ornamental clasp, which may be decorative to indicate the unit in which the Shriner holds membership. Most fezzes worn by Prince Hall Shriners and Daughters of Isis members are made of wool felt and cost from $60 to $90, but some costing from $100 to $1,000 are made of velour or other expensive materials. Each tasseled fez has the name and number of the temple or court embroidered on it and a well-informed Shriner can ascertain the city and state in which the Temple or Court is located by its name and number.
The fez is the emblem of honor worn by all of the men and women (Nobles and Daughters), of the Prince Hall Shriners.