There was no December 30, 2011 in Samoa, due to a countrywide time zone switch

Posted in:#time, #2011, #December, #Oceania, #Samoa Date published 2011/12/30

Friday, December 30, 2011, was a day that didn't exist in Samoa. The island nation skipped a day to align its dates with New Zealand (western side of the International Dateline), thus removing the time difference in day-to-day business dealing with their main partners - Australia and Oceania. Time zone switch occured on Thursday, December 29 at 00:00, instantly skipping one day, thereby when Samoans went to sleep on Thursday, they woke up on Saturday, December 31 - skipping Friday.

People in Samoa (population 193,000) wanted to be closer time-wise to Australia, New Zealand, China and Tonga because they do so much more day-to-day business with those relatively nearby nations than with the rest of the world. And the problem until the time-switch, for example, has been that when it's 8 a.m. Monday in Samoa it's 8 a.m. Tuesday in Tonga. Business people in Samoa have kind of been losing a working day when it comes to dealing with their nearest neighbors.

Samoa has been on the eastern side of the dateline since 1892, The Australian notes, "following lobbying by merchants who did most of their business with America and Europe. ... The world has changed. Australia and New Zealand provide half the country's imports and buy 85 per cent of Samoa's exports."

The change has drawn positive and negative reactions. One objector is the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which observes the Sabbath on Saturday. Church leaders in Samoa have declared they will continue to observe their holy day on what would have been Saturday - therefore observing the Sabbath on Sundays from now on. But in the village of Samatau, church members say they will not be following the rule and will worshipping on the new Saturday.

The village of Falealupo - on the eastern tip of the big island of Savaii - has long been known as the last place on Earth to see the sun set each day. This has made it a tourist attraction for decades, particularly during New Year celebrations. Falealupo Beach Fales accommodation - which has a picture of a sunset and the line "where the sun sets" in its logo - will have to make some changes.

Source1: NPR
Source2: nzherald

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