Christmas Island National Park

Christmas Islanders love a celebration, and being on the island for one of its many festivals is a memorable experience.

Cultural Festivals

Christmas Island’s diverse cultural mix means the community enjoys numerous festivals and religious events through the year.

Some of the things you might see being celebrated are:

  • Chinese New Year – commencing in January or February, this 15-day festival sees Christmas Island come alive with lanterns and lion dances.
  • Vesak Day – Buddha’s birthday is usually observed on the full moon in May.
  • Hari Raya Puasa – marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims.
  • Hungry Ghost Festival – falling in August or September, the Hungry Ghost Festival is a time when Buddhists and Taoists make offerings to wandering spirits.
  • Moon Festival – this Chinese festival in September or October is celebrated with lanterns and sweet mooncakes.
  • Maulad Nabi – commemorates the birth of the prophet Mohammed.
  • Temple gods’ birthdays – each of island’s Chinese temples celebrates the birthday of their main god. Dates vary from year to year, so check with the Visitor Centre for this year’s dates.
  • Christmas – the island was named on 25 December 1643, making Christmas an extra-special event around town. Expect light displays, carols by candlelight, plenty of parties and a visit from Santa himself.

Santa standing beside the Christmas Island National Park sign Photo: Linda Cash / Christmas Island Tourism Association

Other events

  • Christmas Island Open – Held in May every year, this golf tournament brings players from all over the world to the Christmas Island Golf Club.
  • Bird ‘n’ Nature Week – Every September, bird-lovers flock to Christmas Island for a full week of events that includes guided tours, field trips and expert talks.
  • Territory Day celebrations – A week-long event in early October, these celebrations commemorate Christmas Island becoming an Australian territory in 1958. It’s a lively affair with market stalls, fancy dress, sports events, music, dancing and the famous raft race.
  • Christmas Island Marathon – Held in September or October, this internationally listed running event takes competitors through the jungle and along the coast.