The locals

Christmas Island is made up of a fascinating mix of cultures that create a relaxed, friendly and vibrant community. We're home to about 2000 local residents including Chinese, and Malay as well as people from mainland Australia.

The Malay community are Muslim, praying at the Mosque in Kampong at Flying Fish Cove. Members of the Chinese community follow a variety of religious beliefs including Buddhism, Christianity and Confucianism. There are a number of temples, shrines and Christian churches around the island.

Depending on when you visit you may catch one of the many cultural festivals taking place - Chinese New Year; Hari Raya Puasa, marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast for muslims; Maulud Nabi, celebrating the birth of Mohammad; or Vesak Day, the Buddhists' holy day.

Cultural events

In addition to the usual Australian public holidays, cultural events include the Muslim festivals Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji. There are a host of Chinese celebrations including Chinese New Year, the Hungry Ghost Festival (held on the 14th day of the seventh lunar month to appease the hungry ghosts that are unleashed from hell), and the Mooncake Festival, held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar when the moon is at its brightest.
The birthdays of Chinese temple gods are also celebrated at the respective temples around the island. Actual dates for these celebrations vary from year to year, so call into the Visitor Information Centre for further information.