The people of Samoa will skip ahead a day Friday as the country returns
to its original time zone on the west side of the International Date
The switch will take place on midnight Thursday, Dec. 29. When the
residents of Samoa wake up the following morning, it will be Saturday,
Dec. 31, not Friday, Dec. 30.
While Samoa will change their time zone, American Samoa will remain in
line with times on the east side of the international date line. After
Thursday, a person in Samoa could celebrate their birthday in Samoa,
travel less than 100 miles to American Samoa and celebrate their birthday
over again. While this sound like fun, the economy of Samoa is the main
focus of the change.
The leaders of Samoa made the decision to switch zones last May. The goal
of the move is to improve their trading hours with Australia, China and
New Zealand. Under the current time zone, which is based on GMT, Samoa is
about 18 hours behind China, 21 hours behind Australia and 23 hours
behind New Zealand.
The Samoan business have been losing nearly a full day of trading with
their largest trading partners since they switched zones in 1892 to
improve trade with Europe and the U.S.