Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Prince Hall Shriners' Tradition Of "Riding" (Marching In Procession While Doing The Camel Walk Dance)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post presents information about the Prince Hall Shriners' tradition of "riding" (i.e. marching in procession while doing the dance called the "Camel Walk".)

This post also showcases two processional videos of the Shriners' female auxiliary "The Daughters Of Isis".

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all the Prince Hall Shriners and the Daughters Of Isis who are featured in this post. Thanks also to those who wrote the information that I quoted in this post and thanks to the producers of these videos and to their YouTube publishers.

Click for the closely related pancocojams post "Videos Of "The Camel Walk" Dance & Shriners "Riding" Camel Walk Strut"
I have no affiliation with the Shriners' female auxiliary "The Daughters of Isis". Nor do I have any direct or indirect contact with any member of the A.E.A.O.N.M.S. (Shriners).

As indicated above, this information is posted for folkloric, cultural, and aesthetic purposes. I've also re-published this post as a means of pointing out the very close similarities between Shriners' "riding" with historically Black Greek lettered fraternities' and sororities' strolling. Pancocojams video examples of "strolling" can be found by clicking the African American fraternities and sororities tag.
Much of this pancocojams post was previously published in 2013 on my zumalayah cultural blog*.

Zumalayah showcases videos of dances & singing games done in circles or in lines, and other movement performance arts from African American culture, from African cultures, and from other cultures of the African Diaspora.

I no longer add content to Zumalayah or any other of my Google blogs except pancocojams. To access zumalyah, click The hyperlinks for my other google blogs "cocojams 2 [posts about children's recreational rhymes & singing games] and civil rights songs can be found on the right hand sidebar.

I've also added the Black church processional tag at the bottom of this post because of the similarities between Shriners' riding processionals and Black church processionals. Click Marching For Jesus (Church Ushers & Nurses) Black Church Processions Part III for one of my favorite posts about Black church processionals, particularly the first showcase video about processionals during a convention of church ushers and nurses.

The formal name for the Prince Hall Shriners is the "Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine". (A.E.A.O.N.M.S.) This Black fraternal organization are called "Prince Hall Shriners" to distinguish them from the earlier organization of Shriners who are White.

Prince Hall (1735 – 1807) was an African American noted as a tireless abolitionist, for his leadership in the free black community in Boston, and as the founder of Prince Hall Masonry (in 1775). (

The Prince Hall Shriners were founded in 1893.

"The Camel Walk" has been at least informally adopted as a signature group march of the Prince Hall Shriners. That fraternal organization's adoption of the "Camel Walk" for their processionals is likely because the "camel" is connected with the Shriners' and their female auxiliary's (the Daughters of Isis) Middle Eastern theme. As part of that Middle Eastern theme, the members of the Prince Hall Shriners are called "Nobles" & they wear tasseled fezes during their special events. The Prince Hall Shriners' chapters are called "temples" & the terms "oasis" is used for the city and "desert" is used for the state that a specific temple (for instance, Arabia Temple #12, Black Stone Disciples, Oasis of Portsmouth Desert Of Virginia.)

The Prince Hall Shriners’ performance of the Camel Walk dance is called "riding" . A version of the song "Ride The White Horse" appears to be the (at least unofficial) anthem of the Prince Hall Masons' riding.

Click and for information about the Shriners.

(These videos are presented in chronological order based on the date of their YouTube posting, with the oldest dated videos posted first.)

Warning: The "Ride The White Horse" record that appears to be routinely used for the Shriners' "riding" custom contains the repeated word "b**tch". Although this blog usually doesn't feature any videos that contains profanity, I'm including these videos in the interest of documenting the Prince Hall Shriners tradition of "riding".

Example #1: Shriners- Chicago Camel Walk 2010

palestinenoble1, Uploaded on Oct 5, 2010

Chicago-Palestine #1 A.A.O.N.M.S. First Gala Walk in 26yrs...Bringing it back home.

Example #2: Ahmed Temple #37

Uploaded by Princess314 on Oct 10, 2010
The audience calls in this video such as "I see you [person's name]!", "Alright now!", and "Get it now!" remind me of the responses that are heard at Black Greek lettered step shows and stroll competitions.

Also, one or more person dancing in the center of the circle is a traditional form of African American dances & other African Diaspora dances. That same formation in which a person/persons in the center of the circle format is found in Black children's circle games.

Example #3: Persian Temple No. 46 - 2010 Potentate Ball - Intro (Camel Walk)

Uploaded by smokeyjoesii on Dec 19, 2010
This video also points out some striking similarities between the "riding" processional movement of the Prince Hall Shriners and the "strolling" processional movement of historically Black Greek lettered fraternities and sororitites.

The Prince Hall Shriners were founded in 1893 and Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc (the first university based historically Black Greek lettered organization) was founded in 1906. Therefore, it would be correct to say that those historically Black Greek lettered fraternities are modeled after the Prince Hall Shriners and not vice versa.

Another way in which these organizations resemble each other is their use of call & response chanting. I can't make out what the leader says in the above video, but the response is "46" (the number of this particular Shriners' "chapter").Compare that to Black Greek lettered fraternities'/sororities' signature chants which include call & response chants that are based on the organization's founding date. For instance, members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. have a call & response chant in which the leader of the chanters calls "1 9" and the other chanters respond "0 6" - 1906 being the date that the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity was founded.

I'd love to know if it's common for Prince Hall Shriners & Daughters of Isis to pledge any BGLO fraternity or sorority, and if so, I wonder if one particular fraternity or sorority is most often pledged by those men and those women.

By the way, the women in the video who are dressed in white with white hats are members of the Prince Hall Shriners' female auxiliary, the Daughters of Isis.

Example #4: Golconda Temple No. 24 Nobles camel walking into the formal dinner dance

Uploaded by bks2295 on Mar 7, 2011

Example #5: NOBLES


MrMyPushUps, Uploaded on Mar 18, 2011

Party At The Shriners
Deep South Shriners-PHA (A.E.A.O.N.M.S)

Example #6: Jerusalem Temple #4 - A.E.A.O.N.M.S. Baltimore Md

Rosco Production, Published on Jul 25, 2012

Jerusalem Temple #4 - A.E.A.O.N.M.S.
New Class Of 2012 Nobles

Example #7: Shriners - Camel Walks, Parades, Balls, Fez, entertainment

Selim Etkar, Published on Jan 10, 2017

Best of Shriner's videos from youtube.
At around 9:22 in this video, notice the "Soul Train" line formation (and earlier, the Virginia Reel formation) of two individuals dancing down a center isle formed by people standing facing each other in two parallel lines.

Example #1: 2010 NY Drill Team -Julia Grand Court Daughters of Isis and Mecca Syria # 7 Temple Nobles

tyboogie758, Published on Feb 28, 2011

Watch the Daughters of Isis and Nobles from NYS win the Annual Drill team competition at the 17th Annual Convention in St. Louis, MO.

Example #2: 2017 Tuwa Joint Ball ( Tuwa Court)

RayDog2K4, Published on May 9, 2017

2017 Tuwa Joint Ball

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. Here's a link to an interesting article about the origin of six fraternal organizations: "How 6 Fraternal Organizations Got Their Names" by Therese Oneil, March 14, 2014

    As numbered in that article, those organizations are 1. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, 2. Freemasons, 3. Odd Fellows, 4. Loyal Order of Moose, 5. Knights of Columbus, and 6. The Shriners.

    Here's a quote from that article:
    “There's a reason the Shriners are famous for wearing silly hats and driving little cars in parades. The Shriners are a branch of Freemasonry that was started by Masons who wanted to focus more on fun and fellowship than ritual and sanctity. The order adopted an Arabian theme because one of the founders attended a cool party in France with that theme.

    The many parts of their emblem all represent different things. The scimitar stands for the backbone of the fraternity (its members), the sphinx stands for the governing body of the Shriners, and the five-pointed star represents the many children helped by their philanthropy each year. The emblem also bears the phrase "Robur et Furor," which means "Strength and Fury."

    The exact origins of the name are unknown, but the initials for Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.) are an anagram for "A MASON," and many scholars think this isn't a coincidence.”

    1. Of course, given that these are secret organizations, the information about the meanings of those organizations' symbols and emblems may not be accurate.