Daylight Saving Time: What you need to know

Winter Ends, Daylight Lasts Longer

You may have noticed the sun setting later and later these days and on Sunday we’ll gain an extra hour of daylight in the evening. There’s a good reason for that, Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2am.

If you remember, Daylight Saving Time ended in November 2019 when we moved our clocks back one hour, “Fall Back”. That change meant our sunset would be an hour earlier in the evening. This weekend we get it back as we “Spring Forward”.

What is Daylight Saving Time?

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Daylight Saving Time was an idea invented by New Zealand scientist George Vernon Hudson and British builder William Willett. According to timeanddate.com, in 1895, Hudson presented a paper to Wellington Philosophical Society, proposing a 2-hour shift forward in October and 2-hour shift back in March. There was some interest in the idea, but it was never followed through.

According to BBC, Willett presented a similar idea a few years later, proposing moving the clocks ahead in the spring and back in the fall. His idea was later picked up by the Germans who used it during World War I to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save on fuel for the war. The United Kingdom, France and other countries would follow quickly behind with the idea within a few weeks later.

When did the United States start using DST?

Benjamin Franklin has been credited by many sources as being the first to suggest Daylight Saving Time centuries before it was implemented. In 1784, Franklin wrote a letter to the Journal of Paris suggesting people could take advantage of extra evening daylight hours by moving their clocks ahead an hour. At the time Franklin was ambassador to Paris and this was more of a witty letter of suggestion rather than one of fundamental development to the modern DST.

As stated above the Germans would eventually adopt DST in 1916, but the United States would wait until March 9, 1918 to establish the idea. In addition to DST, the Standard Time Act was created and defined time zones in the U.S.

Controversy over Daylight Saving Time

Two states have decided to take a different approach with daylight saving time. Hawaii has chosen to completely ignore the idea and Arizona has too, sort of.

Most of the state of Arizona does not participate in DST, with the exception of the Navajo Nation, located in the northeastern part of the state, who observe it. If that’s not confusing enough, according to the National Geographic, the Hopi Reservation, which is surrounded entirely by the Navajo Nation, does not. And within the Hopi Reservation sits a small slice of the Navajo Nation that, you guessed it, does observe daylight saving time.

Will the U.S. keep DST?

Some legislatures have discussed ending the practice, but for the time being it appears most will maintain using the practice for the foreseeable future.

When does DST begin?

This year, DST will begin on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2 a.m. You’ll need to remember to set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed on Saturday night if it doesn’t automatically reset.

When does DST end?

This year, DST ends on Sunday, November 1, 2020 at 2 a.m.