Christmas Island is home to a mix of cultures, creating a diverse, vibrant and friendly community.
The island’s phosphate mining heritage brought workers here from all over the region.
Today Christmas Island has around 2000 residents. The most common ancestries reported by residents are:
- Chinese (the largest ethnic group)
- English and Irish.
About 40% of Christmas Island residents are Australian-born.
South Point Temple. Photo: Karenn Singer / Christmas Island Tourism Association
The Malay community are predominantly Muslim and pray at the mosque in Kampong at Flying Fish Cove.
Members of the Chinese community follow a variety of religious beliefs including:
There are several Chinese temples and shrines around Christmas Island as well as Christian churches. There is even a small Bahá’í centre on the island.
Christmas Islanders are very tolerant of each other’s beliefs. They also appreciate visitors taking a few simple steps to respect different cultures while on the island.
English is the official language on Christmas Island. However, more than half of our residents speak a language other than English at home.
While on the island, you might hear people conversing in Mandarin, Malay, Cantonese, Min Nan, Tagalog and a variety of other languages.
Our multicultural community makes eating out a highlight of a stay on Christmas Island.
There are several restaurants serving authentic homestyle Chinese and Malaysian food. Bring a healthy appetite to enjoy delicious Asian dishes such as laksa, roti canai, satay, hot pot, crispy fried noodles and Hainanese chicken rice.
Festivals and events
The Christmas Island calendar is packed with cultural events, from the lively festivities of Chinese New Year to the Hari Raya celebration at the end of Ramadan.