Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick


This year, for the first time in 40 years, there will be a significant change in the observance of Daylight Saving Time in most of the United States. Prior to 1966 policies regarding the time were not universal.

In Van Buren County, some communities instituted Daylight Saving Time during the 1960s, while others did not. With Van Buren Community School District and Harmony School District each operating at three centers that were not necessarily keeping the same time, and people working in nearby counties in localities where the time was different, it created a mess. I remember hearing of a woman near Birmingham and Stockport that had to prepare seven separate breakfasts because of the different times family members were coming and going. There were so many complaints nationwide, that a controlled policy had to be adopted.

Until this year, a portion of Indiana did not observe Daylight Saving Time, partly because the boundary between the Eastern Time Zone and the Central Time Zone crosses through Indiana. The state developed a unique system with 77 of the state’s 92 counties that were in the Eastern Time Zone remaining on standard time, except for two counties near Louisville, Kentucky. After Indiana passed a law, the entire state began observing daylight time in April, 2006.

Daylight Saving Time was observed in World War I and again in World War II, but after each war ended, the nation reverted back to regular standard time. During the 1950s, some communities began experimenting with a revival of the system. Since 1966, the observers have been on daylight time beginning at 2:00 am the first Sunday in April, extending to 2:00 am the last Sunday of October. People have grown accustomed to the phrase, "spring forward; fall back," which reminds folks what to do with their clocks.

Some areas still do not follow Daylight Saving Time. It is NOT held in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Arizona, except for the Navajo Nation, which is so large that it is located in three states, and all parts harmoniously observe the policy.

But 2007 marks the beginning of an extension of the system. We will begin daylight time at 2:00 am on the second Sunday in March (March 11) and it will extend to the first Sunday in November (November 4.) This is due to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law.

Notice the grammar that I have used. The official spelling is Daylight Saving Time. There is no "s" on the word saving. The phrase is inaccurate, however, because no actual time is being saved by using the system. "Daylight Shifting Time" would be more accurate to use, but is not politically desirable. By changing the clock, people get off work and out of school earlier so that they can supposedly enjoy more daylight for outdoor activities.

Two am was chosen as the time to change the clocks, because it causes less disruption when implemented during the night. Most people set their clocks to the new time before they go to bed so that they will face the next day with the clocks set properly.

Not all of the world observes Daylight Saving Time. Canada usually follows the same setting as the United States. But only about 70 countries observe daylight time in some form. Mexico did not go onto DST until 1996. Most countries near the equator do not deviate from standard time, as it serves no purpose. In the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are reversed from ours, the countries that observe DST do so from October to March. Parts of Australia do not observe, and China--spread across five time zones--fixes their time the same in all parts of the country and does not change to DST. Japan has not observed daylight time since 1952.

Remember, spring forward on March 11; fall back on November 4!

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick