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Story: Culture
Episode: 2
Presenter: Trevor Cochrane
Air Date: 22nd November 2020

Trevor experiences the rich and diverse culture on the stunning island paradise of Christmas Island.

  • Christmas Island was named in 1643 by Captain William Mynors of the East India Company, who landed on the island on Christmas day.
  • It was the discovery of phosphate in 1881 that brought settlers to Christmas Island, who in turn brought cultural and religious traditions from Europe and Asia.
  • The islanders are proud of their home and its harmony, celebrating Buddhist, Christian, Taoist and Muslim cultures openly across the community.
  • Most residents on Christmas Island are Chinese, followed by Australians and Malay.
  • English is the official language, but you will hear people speaking in Malay or one of the four Chinese dialects.
  • The Chinese lion dance is traditional in Chinese culture and other Asian countries. It’s performed at festivals and events to bring good fortune and ward off evil spirits.
  • The kompang is a traditional hand drum that’s played at Malay events to welcome guests at ceremonies, religious recitals and weddings.
  • The Ma Chor Nui Nui Temple was built for Ma Chor Nui Nui, goddess of the sea, and serves as a reminder of the cultural diversity on the island.
  • The main altar has five statues. The central statue is Ma Chor Nui Nui and she is flanked by followers who are listening or looking out to sea.

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