Lebanon now has two time zones due to the “daylight savings conflict.”
Mass uncertainty occurred on Sunday as a result of the Lebanese government’s impulsive decision to postpone the beginning of daylight saving time by one month until the conclusion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Many Lebanese have been forced to juggle work and school schedules in separate time zones since some institutions adopted the change while others refused to do so in a nation that is only 88 kilometres wide at its widest point.
Many Christian leaders and institutions, including the Maronite Church, the largest church in the small nation, opposed the proposal, which in some cases became a divisive issue.
On the last Sunday of the month, the tiny Mediterranean nation usually advances its clocks one hour, in accordance with the rest of Europe.
But on Thursday, the Lebanese government stated that interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati had decided to delay the commencement of daylight saving time until April 21.
Although there was no explanation provided for the choice, a video of a meeting between Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri that was leaked to local media shows that Mr. Berri requested that Mr. Mikati delay the implementation of daylight savings time so that Muslims could end their Ramadan fast an hour earlier.
Following the decision to delay daylight saving time, Middle East Airlines, the national carrier of Lebanon, declared that all aircraft booked to depart from the Beirut airport between Sunday and April 21 will have their departure schedules advanced by an hour.
In an attempt to prevent the time from changing at midnight, the two cellular telephone networks in the nation sent messages to their subscribers requesting that they adjust their clocks to manual rather than automatic, even though the time often advanced nonetheless.
Although in theory, the government’s decision is binding on all private institutions, many of them, including TV stations, schools, and companies, declared that they will disregard it and observe daylight savings time on Sunday as planned.
The division has given rise to jokes about “Muslim time” and “Christian time,” while various internet search engines returned various answers when asked what time it was in Lebanon early on Sunday morning.
While the schism frequently divided along religious lines, some Muslims also voiced opposition to the change and noted that “fasting is supposed to start at morning light and end at sunset regardless of time zone.”
The worst financial crisis in recent history is currently affecting Lebanon. IMF experts recently issued a warning that if no action is taken, the nation might be headed for hyperinflation since three-quarters of the population are below the poverty line. Since the parliament was unable to choose a successor when President Michel Aoun’s tenure ended in late October, Lebanon has been without a president.