Tuesday, 10 May 2011

December 30th 2011

If like Tiger woods or Ellie Goulding you are celebrating your birthday on the 30th December, can I suggest that you avoid the idyllic paradise that is Samoa as a place to remember your special event. Because the country formerly known as Western Samoa will not be having a 30th December this year.

On the stroke of midnight at the end of December 29th, The islands in the south Pacific will make the huge leap across the international date line and will land squarely on New Years Eve (they're not daft enough to miss a party)

The main reason is an economic one. The Samoans main trading partners are Australia and New Zealand who are currently on the other side of the international date line to Samoa. So in effect this means that the Samoans have only three days trading available with these countries. So instead of being 21 hours behind Sydney (meaning that when Sydney is doing Monday they are still resting on the Sabbath and when Samoa reach Friday the Aussies are all piled on the beach for their weekend barbie) Samoa will be just three hours ahead.

It will also become the first country to see the sun rise although the residents of American Samoa, about 50 miles to the south east, will remain on Samoan Standard Time and will be the last to see the sunset.

It's not the first time that Samoa has date hopped. 199 years ago, they celebrated American Independence Day twice as they traversed the date line from west to east, as at that time their main trading partners were in mainland America.

So you know that in a quiz somewhere in the future there will be a question along the lines of "What will happen/happened in Samoa on 30th December 2011? You have been warned.

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