. . . skipping Friday and going straight to Saturday as it shifts its time zone forward by 24 hours in a bid to move into line with Australia and New Zealand.
Samoa is currently the last country to see the sun go down each day, but the change in the international dateline will make it the first to see the sun rise.
The dateline, which runs through the middle of the Pacific, currently runs to the west of the island nation, meaning that it is 11 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
Carols, prayers and a speech from prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in the last hour of Thursday (local time) will move the country straight into Saturday.
“In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we’re losing out on two working days a week,” the prime minister said, explaining the change.
“While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand and when we’re at church Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.”
Once the switch is made Samoa will be one hour ahead of Wellington and three ahead of Sydney.
Source: 774 ABC Melbourne
If you look at a map of that part of the world, and where the International Date Line (IDL) is situated, this change makes a whole lot of sense. Although Samoa only lies several hours “east” of Australia and New Zealand, it was a day behind them. In fact the whole IDL in that area seems rather arbitery. Which shows that if you’re living on a small island in the middle of the Pacific, life is confusing! It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “island time”.
We were sitting and wondering about some of the consequences of this . . .
- What if your birthday was supposed to be today? Do you celebrate it on the Saturday? Or do you get to skip this year and stay the same age?
- There will be no births or deaths recorded in Samoa for Friday 30 December 2011. It sounds like a 24-hour alien abduction took place!
- What about scheduled sporting events? Imagine a 5-day cricket test match, suddenly being shortened to 4 days. In a game which already has a complex set of rules governing who wins, this would be a serious complication!
- How does this affect people’s salaries and wages? Do they lose a day’s wage? Who would voluntarily want to do that? “Sir, I really wanted to come to work on Friday, but you wouldn’t let me!”. According to the source article guests “staying in Samoa’s hotels this week will not be expected to pay for a day that does not exist, but employers must still pay staff for the Friday that never was.”
- What about scheduled flights? Are they cancelled – or do the pilots get told by air traffic control that they are coming in way too late to land!
So many things to think about . . . But then Samoa must be used to these big changes. In September 2009, Samoans had to start driving on the left-side of the road, as do most other countries in the region.
Of course, if you were alive 120 years ago, you would be fine because the “switch will reverse a decision made 120 years ago to move to the east of the International Dateline because most of Samoa’s trade at the time was with the United States and Europe.” [ Source: 774 ABC Melbourne ].
Wishing everybody a Happy New Year and good health, happiness and loads of fun for 2012!