Image Credit: ancient history/Flickr Creative Commons

Last Sunday at 2 a.m., the majority of Americans experienced something that very few of us understand: the 'fall back' from Daylight Saving Time.

The return to “Standard Time” happens every year, and nobody really seems to enjoy it.

Sometimes they don't even know that what's happening is a return to Standard Time, and not actually Daylight Saving Time.

On the first Sunday of every November, we gain an extra hour when we revert to standard time, ending almost eight months of Daylight Saving Time.

This makes many people miserable by effectively making the sun go down an hour early for the rest of the winter.

So why on Earth do we do it?

The subject has been up for debate for over a century. People have a lot of theories, the biggest urban myth being that it was invented to help farmers get their crops in.

It wasn't.

Nor was it thought up by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin actually suggested people adjust their wake-up times, not their clocks. 

Here's the truth: In 1895, a proposal was formally brought forth by George Hudson to the Wellington Philosophical Society in New Zealand to change the time.

The Kiwi entomologist figured it would give him extra daylight after work to search for insects

Like this giant New Zealand weta:

Germany was the first country to institute Daylight Saving Time, in 1916. Nearing the end of WWI, more countries, the U.S. included, instituted DST, thinking the extra daylight hour would help conserve energy.

But many farmers and some businesses were against DST in the U.S., and it ended on the federal level in 1919, after just one year.

This left its usage to be decided at the state level, creating a messy puzzle of cities and towns that did and didn't use DST, often within the same state.

In 1966, The Uniform Time Act was written into law to standardize DST across the United States.

Under the UTA, DST started on the last Sunday of April and ended on the last Sunday of October every year.

Since then, the time frame for DST has been changed twice to where it is now.

Seventy countries observe DST currently, all with conflicting studies regarding its energy conservation benefits —which is yet another reason why people are still asking, 'Why do we have Daylight Saving Time?'

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