Spring forward this weekend — but why?

by Gwen Pearson

On the second Sunday in March, most of the United States — excluding Arizona, Hawaii and the overseas territories such as Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the United States Virgin Islands — change their clocks at 2 a.m. This is done because of something called Daylight Savings Time, or DST, which comes around twice each year. This year, DST starts on March 8 and ends on Nov. 1, once more at 2 a.m. It’s a difficult thing to remember whether the time needs to be brought forward or pushed back, but there’s a simple term that is meant to trigger your memory. “Spring forward; fall back” is used to remember to set clocks forward one hour in the spring and one hour back in the fall, when DST ends.
Modern day DST was proposed by an entomologist in the 19th century, which is a branch of zoology that deals with insects. George Vernon Hudson was from New Zealand and found value in daylight because that’s when he could study the behavior of his beloved bugs, so he presented a paper about his proposal in 1895. It wasn’t until the April of 1916 that Hudson’s dream of a time switch started to become a reality. Germany and Austria-Hungary were the first to adopt DST, and many other countries followed suit the next year. The United States didn’t start using DST until 1918.
Despite what Hudson tried to accomplish with making use of more daylight, his idea isn’t always spoken of by smiling faces. Some people like the time change, while others detest the idea. Many of those who enjoy the switch come from the working backgrounds of activities that require sunlight after working hours, such as sports and retail. A majority of the people who dislike it are also those who need the sunlight but need it for other activities such as farming.
No matter the views on DST, it’s still a part of daily life for a majority of people in the United States and many countries in the European Union. Truthfully, the name is rather misleading. DST doesn’t save anybody any time out of the day. There’s always going to be 24 hours in a day, no matter how much the clock is switched. Regardless of your views, don’t forget to set your clocks ahead an hour this weekend.