Residents of Samoa are going back to the future, the Polynesian nation skipping December 30 in a shift to a trade-friendly timezone.
On Thursday night, it will be December 29 when they go to bed and Saturday Dec 31 when they wake up – meaning they’ll skip Friday forever.
This neat bit of time travel is the result of a very contemporary concern: trade and economic relations with Pacific neighbors Australia and New Zealand, who are currently nearly a day ahead on the clock.
Now, with the disappearance of Friday, Samoa will shift west of the international dateline and share the same date and time as its two key partners.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi explained: “In doing business (now) with New Zealand and Australia we’re losing out on two working days a week,” The London Times reported.
“While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand and when we’re at church Sunday, they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.”
Actually, this won’t be the first time switch for Samoa, a nation of 180,000 located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii and once the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Kidnapped and Treasure Island.
Samoa and neighboring American Samoa laid west of the dateline until 1892, when an American trader lobbied to switch to the east on the grounds it would be more convenient for trading ships. The result was two July 4’s that year.