Daylight Saving Time begins this weekend! Don’t forget to spring forward. See details.
Also, how did this practice of DST begin? The Old Farmer’s Almanac (around since the beginning of time or, at least, Benjamin Franklin’s day) answers your questions.
What is Daylight Saving Time?
Daylight Saving Time is the practice of changing the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and changing them back again in the fall. Find out when the seasons start here. The general idea is that this allows us all to make better use of natural daylight, however, DST has many detractors.
Note that it’s called “Daylight Saving” (not “Savings”). OK, now that THAT’S out of the way …
When is Daylight Saving Time 2017?
- When do we set our clocks forward? Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 12, at 2:00 A.M. Remember to “spring ahead” and set your clocks forward 1 hour (i.e., losing one hour). (We do this Saturday night when we go to bed.)
- When do we set our clocks back? Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 5, at 2:00 A.M. Now, we “fall back” by setting your clocks back one hour (i.e., regaining one hour).
(The exceptions to DST are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.)
Why is There Daylight Saving Time?
Here’s the short history of this phenomenon …
Credit for Daylight Saving Time belongs to Benjamin Franklin, who first suggested the idea in 1784. The idea was revived in 1907, when William Willett, an Englishman, proposed a similar system in the pamphlet The Waste of Daylight.
The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915 as a fuel-saving measure during World War I. The British switched one year later, and the United States followed in 1918, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which established our time zones. This experiment lasted only until 1920, when the law was repealed due to opposition from dairy farmers (cows don’t pay attention to clocks).
During World War II, Daylight Saving Time was imposed once again (this time year-round) to save fuel. Since then, Daylight Saving Time has been used on and off, with different start and end dates. Currently, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 A.M. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2:00 A.M. on the first Sunday in November.
Share your thoughts about DST below—and see readers’ comments from the past. As you can see, our Almanac readers are quite passionate about this topic!