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Lebanon Wakes Up In Two Time Zones As Daylight Saving Coincides With Ramadan

It appears that the Lebanese can’t even agree on what time it is

If asking what the dollar rate is on a daily, if not hourly, basis in Lebanon is not already an enough headache for the nation’s inhabitants, since this weekend, the Cedar country now has to follow two time zones, resulting in mass confusion.

Like most countries around the world, to mark the beginning of spring and the arrival of summer, clocks are pushed forward by an hour in order for humans to enjoy the maximum amount of natural sunlight there is all of a sudden. As temperatures get warmer so do the days, and while this extra dose of vitamin D is usually celebrated by many, this time, some nations, in this case Lebanon, are much more reluctant in adding another hour of light to their day. Why? It would make fasting times longer for Muslims who are currently observing the holy month of Ramadan. 

The Mediterranean state, which has been having to mend and settle the deep-rooted disputes and persisting conflicts that exist between its several religious and ethnic fractions for centuries, is now facing a much more ironic, although frustrating and confusing, manifestation of its persisting religious tensions. As the tradition wants it, in Lebanon, clocks go forward every March 25, however, as it coincides with the ninth month of the calendar this year, where abstinence from food and beverage is expected by practicing Muslims, the country’s intermittent Prime Minister Najib Mikati decided to postpone daylight saving by a month in order to not extend the period of time in which Muslims have to fast.

Although the sectarian move has not been confirmed by any government officials just yet, people in Beirut seem to find no other rational explanation than the one revealed above. 

The unexpected decision, which brought joy to those concerned, was met with backlash, defiance, and even rejection, notably by some of the prominent Christian voices in Lebanon, who are vetoing the introduction of the swiftly-announced decree, therefore, giving birth to two zones that depend on the religious majority of the city, governorate or region you happen to be living in; or just mood as well. 


Since, the reveal of the news, many businesses and institutions have had to speak out to publicly disclose what time they’ll be following. For instance, Lebanon’s national carrier, Middle East Airlines, has moved up the departure times for all flights scheduled to leave from Beirut’s Rafiq Hariri airport between Sunday and April 21 by an hour, while MTV Lebanon and LBCI Lebanon refused to comply with the ruling and continued with the scheduled switch to daylight saving instead.

As you could’ve expected it, locals found a way to laugh the matter off, despite all the disconcerting and annoyance of the situation. Here are some of our favorite takes on Twitter so far.

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