Culture of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

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A typical street on Home Island.

The culture of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is essentially a Western culture with extensive influences from Malaysia and Indonesia.


The islands are an Australian External Territory and the culture of the islands are influenced, in large part, by their governance with laws, language, gazetted holidays, education, media and cuisine from mainland Australia.

Secondary languages, traditions, religious holidays, cuisine and customs have all been heavily influenced by the islands' large Cocos Malay population.

Art and traditional crafts[edit]

The Islands have a strong history of art and traditional crafts influenced by Cocos Malay traditions and Australian surf culture. The Islands' tourism office encourages visitors to try their hand at traditional basket weaving and "learn about traditional jukong (boat) building".[1]

On Home Island, residents have established a museum dedicated to the Islands' former copra industry and an art gallery - The Big Barge Art Centre - which sells traditional artworks, modern paintings and photographic works and hosts art workshops for tourists.[2]


Around 65% of the Islands' Cocos Malay residents are practicing Muslims[3] and Eid AlFitr (at the end of Ramadan) remains the Islands' "biggest event" of the year.[1] The majority of the remaining population consider themselves either practicing Christians or non-religious.[3]

See also[edit]