Every year, in the wee hours of a Sunday morning in March, 60 minutes vanish from the clock and the time reappears each year in November! No, it’s not a magic trick — it’s Daylight Saving Time!
Daylight Saving Time (or ”
summer time” as it’s known in many parts of the world) was created to make better use of the long sunlight hours of the summer. By “springing” clocks forward an hour in March, we move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. On the first Sunday in November, we “fall back” and rewind our clocks to return to Standard Time.
But where did Daylight Saving Time come from? And how is it useful?
The idea was first suggested in an essay by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, and later proposed to British Parliament by Englishman William Willett in 1907.
Daylight Saving Time is most helpful to those who live farther from the equator, where daylight hours are much longer in the summer than in the winter. In locations closer to the equator, daylight hours and night time hours are nearly the same in length throughout the year.
That’s why many equatorial cities and countries do not participate in Daylight Saving Time.
There are currently about 70 countries that participate in Daylight Saving Time
In Europe, Daylight Saving Time runs from the last Sunday in March through the first Sunday in October. In the southern hemisphere, where the summer season begins in December, Daylight Saving Time is recognized from December through March. Kyrgyzstan and Iceland observe Daylight Saving Time year-round; equatorial countries do not observe Daylight-saving Time at all.
Advocates in support of Daylight Saving Time suggest that in addition to reducing crime and automobile accidents, extended daylight hours also improve energy conservation by allowing people to use less energy to light their businesses and homes. Opposing studies argue the energy saved during Daylight-saving Time is offset by greater energy use during the darker autumn and winter months.