Ring In The Year Of The Rooster — Right Here

Westport’s Chinese population is small.

But it’s diverse. There are doctors, financiers and restaurant owners.

Some are immigrants from mainland China. Others are transplants from New York. Some have lived here for over 30 years. Others moved in the other day.

Some came here for work opportunities. Many chose Westport for its excellent public schools, safe reputation and/or affordability (compared to towns closer to the city).

Some of Westport’s Chinese residents are involved in community affairs. Others are not. In that way, they mimic the rest of the town.

But all know that their new year begins this Saturday (January 21). Many — and many other Chinese, from throughout the area — will celebrate the Year of the Rooster right here in Westport.

happy-chinese-new-year

They won’t be at Shanghai Gourmet, Little Kitchen or Tengda though. Instead, they’ll head to … the Westport Woman’s Club.

That’s where the Organization of Chinese Americans of Fairfield County is holding their annual New Year’s bash. There’s food, entertainment, raffles, an art show, book signing — in fact, there’s so much to do, there are 2 different sessions (12-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.).

The OCA is a social, political and economic group, promoting Chinese heritage, ethnicity and culture. The local group also operates a Mandarin language school in Stamford.

Steven Chin is the new president of the Fairfield County chapter. An “ABC” — American-born Chinese — he’s a 6-year Westport resident eager to bring the New Year’s celebration to his town.

“As our children grow older, we want them to recognize their parents’ struggles to attain the American Dream,'” Chin says. “But we want to them to be good citizens of their communities too. OCA members of all ages perform a variety of charitable services.”

Organization of Chinese Americans working at a food drive last spring.

Organization of Chinese Americans working at a food drive last spring.

OCA has held events in Stamford, Darien and Norwalk. Last May, they sponsored a beach party at Burying Hill.

Chin’s wife Lina is a member of the Westport Woman’s Club. So the venerable building on Imperial Avenue seems a perfect place to celebrate a much, much older holiday.

新年快乐

(For more information about the Chinese New Year celebration on Saturday, January 21 —  and to make reservations — click here. Non-members are welcome!)

 

5 responses to “Ring In The Year Of The Rooster — Right Here

  1. Elaine Russell

    Actual Chinese New Year Day this year is Saturday 1/28. The OCA celebration is one scheduled for the week before New Years.

    Elaine

    >

  2. Bonnie Bradley

    Westport’s long-standing and much loved Chinese restaurant occupied the first building on Main Street, beside the old library & “needle park,” at least from my earliest memories (1940s) until sometime in the 1970s -80s. [someone who knows details will correct me😊]. Mr. Lee owned it. Mr. Lee and my father were good friends. I remember him as a very dignified man, always in a well pressed suit. (My father was more into ill-fitting tweeds.) I know he had at least one daughter, but other children? Sadly, I never really knew her. Because I always went to private day school (Bolton) and play dates were unknown events at the time, and public school athletics, really any mingling, were unavailable, we private/public school kids mostly didn’t mix out in the world. Sad, but it was what it was.

    Hope the OCA member and friends have a wonderful celebration party.
    Happy New Year of the Rooster!

    • Hi Bonnie! Your memory of the Chinese restaurant at the foot of Main Street brings back one of my memories of that place – my parents and I often went there too. One night my parents invited another family, their good friends, to join us. The custom at Chinese restaurants as many people observe, is to share a portion of your order so that everyone gets to sample several dishes. Our invited friends apparently didn’t know this, and probably didn’t know there WAS any other Chinese dish besides chop suey, because everyone in the family ordered chop suey! No sharing that night – not for that dish at least. But my Han Soo Gai was delicious. All of it.

  3. The Westlake Rest. operated from 1950 until 1976. Westlake has a facebook page with great pictures of it as well as early photos of Westport.

  4. Zhou Youguang, creator of “Pinyin”, has died at age 111 (!)
    Interesting to read that he was neither a linguist nor a lexicographer but an economist. I like his quote: “When you encounter difficulties, you need to be optimistic. The pessimists tend to die.” Timely.