Daylight Saving Time: Extra yawns and extra snoozes

If you’re like us at Wittravel in Portland, Ore., you had to set your clock back one hour this Sunday for the end of Daylight Saving Time. This is that special day when people all over the world are united by a scrambling for clocks and general confusion about when to meet their Sunday appointments.

Did you know that DST is actually a common phenomenon all around the world? Most regions in North America, Europe and parts of the Middle East set their clocks back one hour on a designated day. Approximately 70 countries worldwide observe DST, and of major industrialized countries, only Japan, India and China do not. Countries around the equator also generally do not change their clocks. In Hawaii, Arizona and some U.S. territories, it’s not observed at all.

When is DST? It differs. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is usually in October, or early November (as in the USA). It was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin as a way to conserve energy. It was imposed by U.S. law in WWI and WWII, but not officially adopted until 1966. Other countries embraced the policy at various times in the 20th century, and in 1996, the European Union standardized a designated summertime period all across the continent.

Fun fact: The former Yugoslavia’s president, Marshal Tito, visited the U.S. in 1963. Unfortunately, nobody was there to greet him on his arrival, due to a mixup between the airport’s time and the plane’s time.

I’ll end here with a quote by eloquent Mr. Churchill:

An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.

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