What is Daylight savings time? Why do we have daylight savings time?

Daylight saving time is a practice carried out in many countries where everyone forward their clock time by one hour to make more use of the sunlight and change the clock back one hour during the fall. This practice starts on the second Sunday in March every year and ends in November on the first Sunday. Daylight savings time in 2018 has already begun on the 11th of March at 2:00 am and will stop on the 4th of November at 2:00 am.

In the European Union countries, DST starts on the last Sunday of March each year and ends in October on the last Sunday at 1:00 am GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). In Britain, DST is known as British Summer Time.

Southern Hemisphere countries and continents like Australia and New Zealand begin DST around October or November and end it around March or April.

The very first idea of this process dates back to 1784 when Benjamin Franklin wrote ‘An Economical Project’ in which he states that people should follow the rules to prevent wasting Daylight and start their day early.

Another man from New Zealand named George Hudson proposed as well as written papers to convince a shift in time by 2 hours daily. But someone who brought a change was a man named William Willet who started a campaign to save light saying almost 210 hours of daylight is wasted each year.

DST was first adopted by Germany after the World War I in 1915, followed by Britain in 1916 and later by the United States and Canada in 1918.

When does daylight savings time start and when does daylight savings time end?

The Following are the dates that mark the beginning and end of DST each year.

YearDaylight Savings Time BeginsDaylight Savings Time Ends
201712 March, Sunday at 2:00 am5 November, Sunday at 2:00 am
201811 March, Sunday at 2:00 am4 November, Sunday at 2:00 am
201910 March, Sunday at 2:00 am3 November, Sunday at 2:00 am
20208 March, Sunday at 2:00 am1 November, Sunday at 2:00 am

History of Daylight savings time

The idea of not wasting time was given by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 in his paper ‘An Economical Project’. He proposed that people not waste daylight and sleep early and wake up early.

An entomologist (expert in the study of insects) from New Zealand named George Hudson who worked a part-time shift and spent the rest of the day studying insects proposed DST when he noticed the importance of daylight.

He wrote papers and suggested that there be a two- hour shift in time so that people utilise the sunlight properly.

William Willet, an English builder, was the person who shed proper light on the matter in 1905. As he was riding his horse early in the morning one day, he realised that people were still asleep and their houses shut even though the sun was out and the sky was bright.

Two years later, William Willet published a paper where he suggested that time should be forwarded during summer and this was taken up by Robert Pearce (MP) and the first step towards DST took place as a bill was issued on 12 February 1908.

Though it did not become law, Willet put forward many proposals and gave it his best till he died in 1915.

After the World War I, countries slowly started to adopt Daylight saving time starting from Germany and slowly spreading throughout the world. The US Congress officially declared Daylight saving time on 31st March 1918.

Hardships faced by DST

The farmers of the United States were strictly against DST saying that it favoured only the rich and office going people. In 1920, the law was put to an end when some Dairy farmers filed many complaints and bills to end DST. After testing it for just seven months or so, DST was stopped.

Reintroduction of Daylight savings time

In 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour, and World War II broke out, DST again saw the light of day in an attempt to save fuel.

All the clocks in the US were forwarded by an hour to save energy during these hard times. When the War ended in 1945, DST was officially adopted by many of the States of US.

President Roosevelt changed the dates of DST to the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, but as of Energy Policy Act in 2007, the people of USA follow the practice from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

Facts about Daylight savings time

  1. Its Daylight Saving Time and not savings. Here the word saving behaves like an adjective (a word that describes the noun) rather than an action
  2. The very first successful campaign to implement DST was led by William Willet in 1905
  3. Countries in America such as Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Arizona and Guam do not follow DST
  4. Benjamin Franklin only suggested that people not waste time, he did not give the idea to change time
  5. The very first country to adopt DST was Germany in the year 1915
  6. Farmers in the US were against DST which led to its brief end in 1920
  7. Daylight saving time in Britain is known as British Summer Time
  8. In Europe the time shift begins at 1:00 am
  9. Southern Hemisphere starts this process in September/November and ends it in March/April