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Time Traveling Island! Samoa, Tokelau Skips an Entire Day

by OCDisNotFunny on 30/12/11 at 12:31 pm

The tiny island skips an entire day by shifting across the international date line.

The tiny island of Samoa skipped an entire day, December the 30th – Going straight to the 31st and being one of the first to celebrate entering 2012… First as opposed to one of the last. The Samoans congregated around their main clock tower as it struck midnight, ploughing straight through to new years eve. 

They applauded in celebration when the clock stuck midnight to a mass of sirens, cars circled the tower smashing on their horns along to the blasts of colourful fireworks. The reason? Making their timezone align with important trading partners in Asia/Pacific. This shift comes 119 years after traders from the US persuaded the island to keep time with nearby islands controlled by the US. Though this brings them almost a whole day behind increasingly important trading partners of the nearby New Zealand and Australia.

The international date line sperates one calendar day from the next one, and goes pretty much north to south, slicing through the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The law to move Samoa west was past by it’s governtment back in June, as for missed labour on the Friday, citizens will be paid in full. 

The move also brings advantages that make life that little bit more easy and pleasant for families, as well as the economic advantages it brings. A large percentage (around 90%) of Samoans migrate to live permenently it its neighbouring countries, the shift allows for split family members to celebrate rituals on the same day/at the same time.

Just before the island “teleported” into the future the Prime Mineister Tuila’epa Malielegaoi told press “We’ve got to remember that over 90 percent of our people emigrate to New Zealand and Australia. That’s why it is absolutely vital to make this change.”

With the shift many changes come about around the subjects of maps, atlases and charts, even a new stamp has been created with the phrase “into the future” to mark the occasion.  

The change also caused phone service to become temporarily unavailable, the phone company “Digicel”, the most popular service provider on Samoa; had to update systems, this cause a dead service for about 15 minutes. The CEO Pepe Fiaailetoa Fruean said “The interruption will only take a few minutes so we can adjust our system, So I would like to inform all of our customers to have alternative communication means available in case of an emergency.”

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