Why did Samoa miss December 30, 2011?


30 days has November, with April, June and September … And Christmas what day will it be this year? And the first of May? Will it fall on a Sunday or will the bridge be there? What a mess. To simplify things, two researchers at Johns Hopkins University propose the adoption of a new calendar in which every year is exactly the same as the previous one: Christmas for example, always falls on a Sunday.

Save time
The idea behind the curious proposal by Richard Henke and Steve Henry published in the January issue of Globe Asia is to make things easier for schools, companies, public bodies and various institutions that each year find themselves having to deal with with a new calendar, between holidays that move, work shifts that are never the same as the previous year and months of different duration.
Henke and Henry therefore suggest the adoption of a calendar that follows a 30-30-31 pattern, ie two 30-day months followed by one of 31 for a total of 364 days. And to recover the delays on the actual duration of the Earth's year - 365 days and 6 hours - every 5 years there would be one more week that was not included in any of the 12 months and that, for now, was simply called "extra".
Touch iron …
The proposal of the two economists, as outlandish as it may seem, is still not entirely original: George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, had tried before them without gaining any following, because his calendar did not include the weekend end and not it maintained the typical festivals of the Christian tradition.
Henke and Henry's calendar does not have these problems, but superstitious people may not like it, given that they expect 4 friday 13 each year.
The ideal date to start the new calendar could have been January 1, 2012, which fell on a Sunday. The next useful New Year could be that of 2017.
The jump of December 30th
And always to make ends meet, last year the inhabitants of the Samoa islands, a Pacific archipelago located 2400 km north of New Zealand, did not live on December 30th. Their calendar has in fact passed directly from 11.59 pm on Thursday 29 December to 00.00 on Saturday 31. In this way the small nation has moved from the western part of the line of the given change, aligning its time zone with that of Australia and New Zealand, the countries with which it has most of the trade.
"Before this decision our companies lost two working days a week, " explains Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sailele. "When it's Friday here our trading partners are resting because it's Saturday, and when we are at church on Sunday, Brisbane and Sidney it's already Monday and they're at work."
The transition was not however painless, because the companies of Samoa, already severely hit by the international economic crisis, had to pay their employees' workday on Friday anyway.