Daylight Saving Time
When we change our clocks
Rationale and original idea
First there was Standard time
Early adoption and U.S. law
Changes and irregularities
Worldwide daylight saving
Worldwide daylight saving
Worldwide daylight saving

Today approximately 70 countries utilize Daylight Saving Time in at least a portion of the country. The only major industrialized country not to have introduced daylight saving is Japan.

While European nations have been taking advantage of the time change for decades, in 1996 the European Union (EU) standardized an EU-wide "summertime period." The EU version of Daylight Saving Time runs from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October. During the summer, Russia's clocks are two hours ahead of standard time. For example, Moscow standard time (UTC+3) is about a half-hour ahead of local mean time (UTC+2:30); this is about the same situation as Detroit, whose standard time (UTC-5) is also about a half-hour ahead of local mean time (UTC-5:32). During the winter, all 11 of the Russian time zones remain an hour ahead of standard time. With their high latitude, the two hours of Daylight Saving Time really helps to save daylight. In the Southern Hemisphere where summer comes in December, Daylight Saving Time is observed from October to March. (The clock at above right is viewed from within the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.)

Not the tropics

Equatorial and tropical countries (lower latitudes) do not observe Daylight Saving Time since the daylight hours are similar during every season, so there is no advantage to moving clocks forward during the summer. China has had a single time zone since May 1, 1980 observing summer DST from 1986 through 1991; they do not now.

List of countries

Most countries that observe daylight saving time are listed in the table below. They all save one hour in the summer and change their clocks some time between midnight and 3 am.

Continent Country Beginning and ending days
Africa Egypt Start: Last Friday in April
End: Last Thursday in September
Namibia Start: First Sunday in September
End: First Sunday in April
Asia Most states of the former USSR. Start: Last Sunday in March
End: Last Sunday in October
Iraq Start: April 1
End: October 1
  Israel (more info) (Estimate, Israel decides the dates every year)
Start: First Friday in April
End: First Friday in September
Lebanon, Kirgizstan Start: Last Sunday in March
End: Last Sunday in October
  Mongolia Stopped in 2002
Palestine (more info) (Estimate)
Start: First Friday on or after 15 April
End: First Friday on or after 15 October
  Syria Start: April 1
End: October 1
Iran Start: the first day of Farvardin
End: the first day of Mehr
Australasia Australia - South Australia, Victoria,
Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales,
Lord Howe Island
Start: Last Sunday in October
End: Last Sunday in March
Australia - Tasmania Start: First Sunday in October
End: Last Sunday in March
  Fiji Stopped in 2000
New Zealand, Chatham - (read law)
Start: First Sunday in October
End: Third Sunday in March
  Tonga Start: First Sunday in November
End: Last Sunday in January
Europe European Union - (read law)
UK - (read law)
Start: Last Sunday in March at 1 am UTC
End: Last Sunday in October at 1 am UTC
  Russia Start: Last Sunday in March at 2 am local time
End: Last Sunday in October at 2 am local time
North America United States, Canada, Mexico
St. Johns, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos
Start: First Sunday in April
End: Last Sunday in October
  Cuba Start: April 1
End: Last Sunday in October
  Greenland Same as EU
South America Brazil
(rules vary quite a bit from year to year).
Also, equatorial Brazil does not observe DST.
Start: First Sunday in November
End: Third Sunday in February
  Chile - (read law)
Start: Second Saturday of October - at midnight
End: Second Saturday of March - at midnight
  Falklands Start: First Sunday on or after 8 September
End: First Sunday on or after 6 April
  Paraguay Start: First Sunday in September
End: First Sunday in April
Antarctica Antarctica (more info) (varies, see below)

Note that there are many oddities. For example, some parts of the US and Canada do not observe Daylight Saving Time, such as the state of Arizona (US) and the province Saskatchewan (Canada).

Observance can also be erratic. For example, Chile delayed its changeover date for the Pope's visit in 1987, and a presidential inauguration in 1990.

In Japan, Daylight saving was introduced after World War II by the US occupation but was dispensed with in 1952, following opposition from farmers. Despite efforts by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to have daylight saving introduced to cut Japan's energy consumption, opposition from farmers and the Ministry of Education (who were concerned that lighter evenings would entice school children from their homework) has continued to win the day.

Clark Dam at Butlers Gorge in Tasmania. The bulk of the electricity in Tasmania is generated by hydroelectric stations, causing an energy shortage in the drought of 1967.

In Australia, Daylight Saving was first introduced during World War I under Commonwealth legislation which, due to wartime emergency, was binding on all the States. During the world wars, DST was implemented for the late summers beginning January 1917 and 1942, and the full summers beginning September 1942 and 1943. (Western Australia did not use DST summer 1943).

In 1967, Tasmania experienced a drought, which depleted their reserves of water. The State Government introduced one hour of daylight saving that summer as a means of saving power and hence water. Tasmanians reacted favorably to daylight saving and the Tasmanian Government has declared daylight saving each summer since 1968. After persuasion by the Tasmanian Government, all States (except Western Australia and the Northern Territory) passed legislation in 1971, for a trial season of daylight saving. The following year, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria joined Tasmania for regular daylight saving, but Queensland did not until 1989.

Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia have had erratic schedules, often changing their dates due to politics, and to accommodate festivals. For example, in 1992, Tasmania extended daylight saving by an additional month while South Australia began extending daylight saving by two weeks to encompass the Adelaide Festival. In some years Victoria extended daylight saving to the end of March for the Moomba Festival and South Australia and New South Wales followed suit for consistency. Special daylight saving arrangements were observed during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

In response to the problems caused by nonuniformity, a Private Members Bill, the National Measurement (Standard Time) Amendment Bill 1991, was introduced into Federal Parliament in May 1991 by Ron Edwards, Member for Stirling in WA to define a national system of time zones and DST for Australia and its external territories. But in March 1992 the Federal Government decided not proceed with the Bill, and the setting of time zones and daylight saving will remain the responsibility of the State and Territory governments. The lack of uniformity of daylight saving in Australia continues to cause significant problems for transport and communication organizations. It also reduces the number of hours in the working day that are common to all centers in the country. In particular, time differences along the east coast causes major difficulties, especially for the broadcasters of national radio and television that can only be partly overcome by substantial capital investments.

Middle East


Israel always has Daylight Saving time, but it is decided every year. According to the Office of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior, there is NO set rule for Daylight-Saving/Standard time changes. One thing is entrenched in law, however: that there must be at least 150 days of daylight saving time annually. From 1993-1998, the change to daylight saving time was on a Friday morning from midnight IST to 1 a.m IDT; up until 1998, the change back to standard time was on a Saturday night from midnight daylight saving time to 11 p.m. standard time. 1996 is an exception to this rule where the change back to standard time took place on Sunday night instead of Saturday night to avoid conflicts with the Jewish New Year. Starting in 1999, the change to daylight saving time will still be on a Friday morning but from 2 a.m. IST to 3 a.m. IDT; furthermore, the change back to standard time will now also be on a Friday morning from 2 a.m. IDT to 1 a.m. IST.


The area of Palestine has had varying Daylight Saving Time rules as the dramatic politics of the region have swayed the occupying power. Being closer to the equator than Europe, there is less need for DST, but it has generally been observed anyway. At present, as a sign of independence from Israeli rule, the Palestinian Authority uses a different schedule than Israel.

Early in the twentieth century, the British were quick to standardize time, and from 1917 until 15 May 1948, all of Palestine, including the parts now known as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, was under British rule, and followed British time changes.

Later, the Gaza Strip was mostly under Egyptian rule from 15 May 1948 until 5 June 1967, and followed Egyptian policy. The rest of Palestine was under Jordanian rule at that time, formally annexed in 1950 as the West Bank (and the word "Trans" was dropped from the country's previous name of "the Hashemite Kingdom of the Trans-Jordan"). So the rules for Jordan for that time apply. Major towns in that area are Nablus (Shchem), El-Halil (Hebron), Ramallah, and East Jerusalem. Both areas followed Israeli time when they were occupied by Israel in June 1967, but not annexed (except for East Jerusalem). The Palestinian Authority was established in 1993, and controlled most towns in the West Bank and Gaza by 1995. The Palestinians began using their own time change dates, separate from Israel's.


In 1999, Jordan decided to implement summer time all year round.


The Antarctic Peninsula (Palmer Station) uses Chile's time zone, the rest of the continent does not. Rothera, a British base, does not implement daylight savings, but instead remains GMT -3. U.S. bases, including both McMurdo and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station use New Zealand's time zone and daylight saving dates.


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