Daylight saving time begins this weekend! Are you ready to spring forward - and do you know why we do?

Daylight saving time begins this weekend. Here's how and why it became a thing.

Mar 9, 2021, 6:09 PM

Updated 1,193 days ago


Daylight saving time begins this weekend!  Are you ready to spring forward - and do you know why we do?
By now, most of you know what daylight saving (singular!) time is - the practice of setting the clock forward by one hour so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less.
In the U.S., daylight saving time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November, with the time change taking place at 2 a.m. local time. In the spring, clocks are moved forward from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. and in fall they are moved backward from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. We even have a fun phrase to help us remember which is which - "spring forward, fall back!" Daylight saving time lasts for a total of 238 days annually, which is about 65% of the entire year. 
But why do we do this? And when and how did it come about?
The process was initially contrived to save energy and make better use of our daylight. While Germany and Austria were the first countries to use DST in 1916, it is a little-known fact that a faction of Canadians beat them to it by eight years!
On July 1, 1908, the residents of Port Arthur, Ontario (Thunder Bay today) turned their clocks forward by one hour to start the world's first DST period.  However, the idea did not catch on globally until Germany introduced it in 1916. Their reasoning was to save fuel for World War I. Within a few weeks, a handful of other European countries followed suit. Most of them reverted to standard time after World War I.
The United States would not adopt the idea until 1918.  It was not a popular one, especially within the farming community - less time to get their milk and crops to the market. It was so unpopular that Congress abolished it once the war was over, which involved overriding then-President Woodrow Wilson's veto! However, a new war would come about a little over two decades later. In early 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted a year-round DST (he called it "War Time") which lasted until the last the end the war in 1945.
From 1945 to 1966, there was no federal law on daylight saving time, so localities could choose whether to keep it, amend how long it lasted, or drop it entirely. But the lack of consistency grew frustrating for everyone, which ultimately led to the Uniform Time Act of 1966. This gave a federal regulation for all, which (through a few extensions over the years) still remains today - except for Arizona and Hawaii. The aforementioned Uniform Time Act allowed for states to exempt themselves.
However, just because most of the country continues to employ DST doesn't mean it is popular to all.
Many movements have been started to use sing daylight saving time year-round. Bills have been introduced in over 30 states to either end DST or make it permanent.
The main argument for keeping DST year-round is that the modern lifestyles and work patterns are no longer compatible with the concept of shifting the clock twice a year. Supporters that argue a permanent switch to ''Forward Time'' would also result in saving energy by reducing the need for artificial light.
In 2019, Florida introduced the the 'Sunshine Protection Act' which would make DST the standard time. It has bipartisan support from some states but it has not yet received a hearing in Congress.
What do you think? Are you ready to spring ahead and enjoy the later sunsets? Or will you miss the hour of sleep too much? Vote in our poll, and share your thoughts with us on social media!

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