Europe to Set Back Clocks for Winter Time Sunday as Pandemic Continues Unabated

By Paul Riegler on 24 October 2020
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Most European nations will adjust their clocks back one hour early Sunday as the cutover from Summer Time to Winter Time takes place, thereby giving everyone on the Continent an extra hour of sleep.

The move is akin to the switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time in the United States, although it is on a different schedule.

Plans were afoot to abolish the clock changes in Europe starting in 2021 but the European Parliament has put the brakes on the idea amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The changes were to become a thing of the past but a spokesperson for the European Parliament confirmed that the change is not currently on the agenda and will likely not be on the agenda anytime soon.

This year, the United States will mark the end of Daylight Saving Time on November 1.

The change from Summer Time to Winter Time is observed in every European nation except Iceland and Belarus.

Summer Time – or Daylight Saving Time – is the period between spring and fall when we get an extra hour of daylight in the evening by setting clocks ahead by one hour.

The idea for modern Winter Time and Summer Time can be traced back to the First World War, although the practice ended when the war was over. It was reinstated by many European nations during the Second World War, only to be discontinued yet again in the 1950s.

The European Community brought unity to the Continent’s timekeeping with the adoption of Summer Time in 1981, with a start date on the last Sunday in March. The cutover date for Winter Time has changed nine times since then.

Both Summer Time and Daylight Saving Time are similar as they are both systems that manage the changing amounts of daylight that occur during the year, with the goal of maximizing daylight hours during the workday. Many credit Benjamin Franklin with the concept, as he said the idea would save an “immense sum” in the cost of candles, although his remarks are now believed to have been somewhat in jest.  Astute readers will note that no daylight is actually saved in the process.

The United States first adopted the practice in the early twentieth century, largely as an energy-saving measure.

Daylight Saving Time will end in the United States in the early morning hours of November 1. Until then, times in Europe and the U.S. will be off by an hour less than usual. The time difference between Central Europe and the East Coast of the United States will be five hours, instead of six, until the United States returns to Standard Time.

In 2021, Summer Time in Europe will begin on March 28, two weeks after Daylight Saving Time starts in North America on March 14.

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

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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