Clifton Celebrates the German Identity


On Saturday, November 18, the people of St. John Lutheran Church gathered to celebrate their German heritage. As pre-Thanksgiving cheer was filling the air, these churchgoers decided to celebrate their German pride with a plethora of classic German food, drinks, and festivities.

Going as far back as the 1800s, St. John Lutheran Church has stood strong and celebrated its ethnic identity with traditional German food and dance. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the community in early 2020, however, St. John Lutheran Church was forced to temporarily cancel the German festival and other fundraising events for the church like their Spaghetti Dinner, and shift all of their religious meetings to digital platforms.

This year marked the first German festival since the pandemic, and it all started with the German-themed dinner. Attendees were given their pre-purchased food tickets upon arrival, with a choice of either bratwurst or roast pork for a choice of meat and a buffet-style serving of salads, cakes, drinks, and other side dishes. Many attendees brought German-themed food in a potluck style, with outstanders like German apple cake and German chocolate cake.

Following the dinner, the Edelweiss Passaic Schuhplattler Club demonstrated some classic German dances like Schuhplattler and forms of Polka dancing, while teaching about the history behind the dances, the uses of said dances in history, and the meaning behind their names. Soon after, the dancers invited the audience to join in on the cheerful dance, filling the air with joy and excitement.

With a long-standing history of the church, St. John Lutheran Church stands tall with German ethnic pride and shares its culture and community throughout Clifton. Even as a tight-knit community, many church members were willing to reach out to the wider Clifton community, welcoming all newcomers to their festival and to the upcoming Spaghetti Dinner in the springtime. With more events to hopefully come, there is sure to be more joy and happiness is ready to be had.

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