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  • Writer's picturePaul


Nobody—and I mean nobody—in Samoa has the birthday 30 December 2011. Frankly, that statement alone would be a bizarre enough fact for Yes or BS. But the reason why there were no birthdays recorded on that day is even more bizarre: put simply that day did not exist.

In 2011, Samoa decided that it wanted to lie on the other side of the International Date Line, the line of longitude that runs down the centre of the Pacific Ocean and separates one day from the other in universal time.

Before then, the IDL had passed down the western side of the country, so that Samoa was 11 hours behind GMT. But Samoa does a lot of trade with Australia and New Zealand—who together are anywhere from 6 to 10 hours ahead of GMT—and having such a vast difference wasn’t exactly conducive to frictionless trade.

So a decision was made, and on 29 December 2011 Samoa quietly moved from one side of the Date Line to the other. Which had the added affect of quietly removing an entire day from the calendar: the 30th disappeared, New Year’s Eve followed the 29th, and Samoa entered the new year on the opposite side of the world.

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