Understanding Daylight Saving Time

Each year, U.S. citizens experience two major time shifts. One is during the fall season, when clocks fall back an hour and the other occurs during spring, when time springs forward an hour. Traditionally, these time shifts affect all states except Arizona and Hawaii, both of which do not observe the long held tradition of Daylight Saving. Other areas that refrain from the twice-yearly time change include the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. As we prepare to spring forward this season, many still remain unaware of the real reason behind this yearly practice.

History of Daylight Saving Time

The origin of Daylight Saving Time (DST) often varies, with some crediting its root in the rationing of fuel during WWI and others to certain observations made by Benjamin Franklin in 1780s. Despite the controversial debate behind its inception, its general purpose is to give people an extra hour of daylight later in the day. Over the years, studies have suggested that the practice brings about a number of benefits, including a decrease in the use of fuel for electricity. Parents and educators have also been known to use the extra hour of daylight to encourage more regular activity for kids as climates start to warm in the spring and summer seasons.

In the US, Daylight Saving Time became a standard within most states with the passing of the Uniform Time Act of 1966. In signing this act, President Lyndon Johnson agreed that any state that wanted to be exempt from Daylight Saving Time could do so by passing a specialized law refraining from the time change, which is the case with states of Arizona and Hawaii. Consequently citizens of countries observing DST like the United States are able to slightly adjust the time to maximize the actual hours of daylight during the season and help increase overall productivity.

Evolving in a number of ways through the years, the observance of Daylight Saving Time is currently practiced in countries across the globe. The actual start and end dates vary by locale but the practice itself is generally understood to be driven by the same general purposes and origin.

This year, Daylight Saving Time of 2013 beings at 2:00am on March 10th, Sunday.

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