Friday, December 30, 2011
Samoa and Tokelau Skip December 30, 2011.
Images From Top to Bottom:
Flag of Tokelau
Flag of Samoa
From Wikimedia Commons
It was Phileas Fogg and Passepartout in Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days" who were the first notable people to lose a day due to the International Date Line. Now, it is the turn of two island groups in the Pacific to do the same.
Samoa is an island nation of about 180,000 people and the much smaller Tokelau is a New Zealand territory of just over 1400 people. These islands are in the midst of the International Date Line and could have chosen either this side or that. Samoa chose the Eastern (USA side) 119 years ago when the islands were under effective German rule.
During the First World War, British troops took control of Samoa. Australia and New Zealand became more important to the Samoans as their economies were more integrated. In 2006, 133,000 people of Samoan descent lived in New Zealand.
With the decision taken in May 2011 by the Samoans and adopted soon after by the Tokelau islanders, the two island groups moved from Thursday, December 29 to Saturday, 31 of December. Thus they skipped a day and are now on par with Australians and New Zealanders. Now, they can do business and go to church on the same days. Also the the relatives living in these countries can celebrate important dates in the family, such as birthdays and anniversaries.
However, if you are a inhabitant of Samoa or a Tokelau who happened to be born on a 30th December, you are unable to celebrate your birthday this year. However, if you really want to celebrate, there is still time to connect with a family member in Australia or New Zealand through internet and celebrate on the world wide web.
BBC- Samoa and Tokelau Skip a Day for Dateline Change
Washington Post- Moving Pacific Islands in Time: Samoa and Tokelau Skip Across International Date Line