A Look Back at the Daylight Savings Tradition


| LAST UPDATE 03/14/2022

By Hayden Katz
daylight saving time clock
The Sydney Morning Herald / Contributor via Getty Images

Every Spring, nearly 70 countries participate in the start of daylight saving time, which typically starts on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November. The idea behind it is to increase the amount of daylight there is in the day, which ends up making the days feel longer. The consequences of this clock change vary from good and bad, and many people have strong opinions about it. Here's everything you need to know about the concept.

Earth spins on its axis at roughly a consistent 23.5-degree angle. It takes 24 hours to complete one rotation, with 12 of those hours being daytime for the Equator and the rest being nighttime. But that's what happens in a more north or south direction. When the season of Summer approaches, it's when the Northern Hemisphere starts leaning towards the sun - which gives us those hot, long days. But when Winter rolls around, the Southern Hemisphere tilts against the sun, which produces those cold, short days. Daylight savings time was created to increase the amount of sunlight we have in the day. This explains why some countries participate, and others don't, because it all depends on how far the region is from the Equator.

sunrise sunlight daylight saving
David McNew / Stringer via Getty Images
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The regions that take part in changing the clocks an hour forward are most of the United States. Hawaii, the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands don't engage in daylight savings. Internationally many areas in North America, Europe, New Zealand, and a few regions of the Middle East all participate in the time shift - but each one has a different date where they start and end. They are usually a few weeks apart from one another.

So why did this ever begin? The origin is still quite unclear. Many credit Benjamin Franklin with daylight savings because he noticed the sun would rise at 6 am, way before anyone was awake. He believed all the citizens in Paris should wake up with the sunlight. The first ones to go ahead with the idea was Germany in 1912 when they started lacking resources during World War I. America also implemented the daylight saving clock sift in 1918. In Europe, a survey showed that 80% of the residents voted to get rid of daylight saving time. Yet still, there are thousands of others who enjoy the extra sunshine they have after work. It gives people more time to spend doing activities they enjoy like golf, going to the beach, or barbecues.

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