Last March most of the United States moved their clocks ahead one hour. Many people bemoan the “springing forward” of their clocks. Sri Lanka does not change their clocks. In fact, Sri Lanka has a very unique relationship with time.

Sri Lanka is 30 minutes off from the time zones as we know them. Why is it this way? Originally time was very local around the world. Each city set its own time. This was fine until railroads started connecting cities and a standard time was needed. A group of 27 countries met to divide the world into the 24 time zones we are familiar with. India, which is so big, would normally straddle two time zones. Politicians wanted all of India to use the same time so they split the difference between the two time zones to create India Standard Time. Sri Lanka which has close connections to India decided to use India Standard Time to make relations easier between the two countries.

Sri Lanka is very close to the equator. This means that are days are pretty much the same length year around. The sun rises at 6 am and sets at 6 pm. Days in December are the same length as days in July. Also being so close to the equator we do not experience seasons. We have dry seasons and monsoon seasons. The only difference is whether it is raining or not.

This makes it feel like time just slips away. Someone asks me how long I have lived in Colombo and I have to look at a calendar to figure it out. I can’t just think back and say, “We got here in the summer and now it is the tail end of winter, so about 10 months.” Days melt into weeks, which melt into months.




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