Europe to Set Clocks Back for Winter Time This Weekend

By Jesse Sokolow on 24 October 2013
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This Sunday, as is the custom every year on the last Sunday of October, clocksthe European Union (EU) will turn back clocks one hour to mark the observance of Winter Time.  This tradition, similar in nature to Daylight Saving Time in the United States, is observed in every European country except Iceland, Russia, and Belarus.

Winter Time and Summer Time (the clocks are turned forward one hour for Summer Time) can be traced back to World War I, although the practice was largely discontinued following the conclusion of the war., It was, however, reinstated by various European countries during World War II, only to be discontinued again in the 1950s.

In 1981, the European Community directed member states to put Summer Time into effect on the  last Sunday in March. The start date for Winter Time has changed nine times over the years, and is currently the last Sunday in October.

The concept of Summer or Daylight Saving Time is a system of managing the changing amounts of daylight that occur during the year, with a goal of maximizing daylight hours during the typical workday. It was first proposed in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin, who believed it would save an “immense sum.” It was not broadly adopted until the early twentieth century when the U.S. temporarily enacted Daylight Saving Time as an energy-saving measure.

By adjusting clocks ahead by an hour, people typically have more daylight available during the workday. For example, in the case of someone who typically awakens at 7 a.m., since in the spring the sun rises earlier each day, an individual would have to rise at 6 a.m. to take advantage of the additional daylight. Instead, by moving the clock ahead by one hour, that person can continue to wake up at 7 a.m. and enjoy more daylight in the early evening hours.

Most of Asia, Africa, and South America do not observe Daylight Saving Time at all.

Daylight Saving Time will end in the United States on November 3. Until then, however, times in Europe and the U.S. will be off sync by an hour.  In 2014, Summer Time in Europe will begin on March 30, three weeks after Daylight Saving Time starts in North America.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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