Yes, there is still snow on the ground, but this weekend Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday. And even though we’re losing an hour, we have the joy of knowing that Spring is around the corner with warmer weather and longer daylight hours.
In honor of this prelude to Spring, here are some fun facts about Daylight Saving Time:
- Clocks in the German Empire, and its ally Austria, were turned ahead by 1 hour on April 30, 1916—2 years into World War I. The rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort. The United States began participating in Daylight Saving Time in 1918.
- DST was the idea of a bug collector. While some give credit to Benjamin Franklin (who half joked about the concept in an essay as a way to conserve candle wax), official credit goes to entomologist George Vernon Hudson. Hudson got frustrated with how early dusk fell in the summertime because the dim light interfered with his bug collecting. When he proposed his idea to a scientific society in New Zealand in 1895 it was mocked for being pointless and overly complicated. Just two decades later, Daylight Saving Time would begin its spread across the world.
- Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii and most of Arizona. U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and American Samoa also don’t observe Daylight Saving Time.
- Daylight Saving Time begins and ends at 2am instead of midnight because there is a higher chance that most people are sleeping at 2am.
- If you thought that DST was created to give farmers more time to work in the fields, you’re not alone — but you’re not correct, either. According to an article on History.com, the agriculture industry was completely against the idea when it was introduced in 1918 because it was disruptive to their daily routines. Farmers work by the sun, not the clock, so they were stuck waiting an extra hour for dew to evaporate so they could harvest hay. Cows also weren’t ready to be milked an hour earlier, which made shipping schedules difficult to meet.
- The candy industry figured they could cash in on DST with an extra hour of daylight for trick-or-treaters on Halloween. They lobbied for a law to be passed in 2007 extending DST into November (it had previously ended on the last Sunday in October).
This year, Daylight Saving Time will end on November 4, and you’ll get your hour of sleep back. Until then, enjoy the extra hour of daylight and maybe have an extra cup of coffee if you need an extra kick Sunday morning.