We all celebrate New Year’s at the same time…but not really.
This morning, by 6:00 a.m. New York time, everyone in New Zealand will have celebrated the beginning of 2024. Next, traveling westward, we could party in Japan and South Korea at 10:00 a.m. and Greece (and 30 more countries) at 5 p.m. Then finally, with its New Year’s observance at 4 a.m. (New York time) Monday, the U.S. state of Alaska is close to our last stop.
Countries can decide what time they want it to be.
As a result, on November 24, 1793, France got French Revolutionary Time. Rather logical, their new system had a 10-hour day, a 100-minute hour, and 100 seconds in each minute. Using a decimal system would have made all of their time-related math much simpler. But few people liked the logic or the need to replace all of the country’s clocks. Admitting defeat, officials ended the mandate on April 7, 1795.
Also tweaking the time but by much less, on August 15, 2015, North Korea moved its clocks back by 30 minutes. Citing Japan’s imperialism, they created a new time zone called Pyongyang Time. Within three years, though, they reverted their clocks back to where they had been.
The temporary difference between North and South Korean time:
Most of India has one time zone as does China. By contrast, in the U.S., at 5:30 a.m. in San Francisco, the sun is not up and neither are most people. But, coordinating with New York time, work in the financial district has begun.
Our Bottom Line: Why Time is Money
Nineteenth century time zones eliminated local time to rationalize railroad schedules. In 1918, when Congress was debating a mandated time shift, farmers objected saying their cows could not be milked and their work could not begin in dark wet fields. Disagreeing, baseball team owners cheered that lighter later games would boost attendance while retailers expected more women would shop after work. And returning to North Korea, Kim Jong Un canceled Pyongyang Time in 2018 to eliminate confusion for the North Korean employees that worked for the South Koreans.
So yes, as Ben Franklin suggested, not only can we say that “Time is money,” but also as a human creation it shapes when we shop, when we sleep, when we eat…
And when we celebrate the New Year.
My sources and more: For starters, Time and Date is my go-to website for all time zone related facts. Then, after hearing about it in a podcast, I learned about the decimal day at Mental Floss and more about North Korea’s time change from The Washington Post.
Please note that several of today’s sentences were in a previous econlife post.