Did you set your clocks back yet?
Sunday was the end of daylight saving time, also known as DST. When our children were young, I always dreaded this day. Before I knew it, it was pitch dark while we were eating dinner — and we always ate fairly early in the evening.
Dinner would end, it was too dark to go outside to play, and there I would be with four young children and hours and hours before bedtime.
I always thought DST came to be because farmers needed longer days for working their farms. Turns out that isn’t where it comes from at all, and in fact, the agricultural community opposed the change pretty much everywhere, including here in the United States.
The first location to use the change happened in July 1908, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It was enacted to conserve energy and to make better use of daylight hours.
Germany began using it in 1916 to conserve artificial lighting to save fuel for World War I. DST continued to spread and came to the United States in 1918 and was referred to as “Fast Time,” signed into law by Woodrow Wilson. Year round DST during World War II was called “War Time.”
From 1945 to 1966 there were no “uniform” rules regarding DST, which caused all sorts of confusion for scheduling trains, buses and other kinds of travel. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was established, which mandated DST would begin on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October. It was revised and changed over the years, for example during the energy crisis in the 1970’s.
Today, DST begins on the second Sunday in March and ends today, the first Sunday in November. Did you know not all of our states spring forward and fall back? Hawaii and Arizona don’t observe DST — who knew? It is now used in more than 70 countries and affects a billion people. The dates vary in different countries.
Many people think Benjamin Franklin started DST, but he didn’t. That connection has often been falsely made because of a satirical essay Franklin penned back in 1784 while he was serving as an envoy for America in Paris.
Apparently the summer sun woke up the 78 year old at 6 a.m. and he wrote the essay, complaining in his satirical way, saying in essence the Parisians could save huge amounts of money if they made better use of the daylight instead of having to burn candles for light.
The only thing I do love about DST is that it feels like it signifies the official beginning of the holiday season — and everybody who knows me (or reads my column) knows I absolutely love the holidays.
I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving Day and of course Christmas. I love planning the meals, shopping for gifts, making gifts (which tend to be food oriented and not craft-oriented), cooking special meals, decorating the house, and coming up with new traditions as well as celebrating with all of our long standing traditions.
Whether you love it or dread it, Daylight Saving Time is here!
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.