RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Saturday night most of Brazil changed their clocks to observe Daylight Savings Time (DST). I say ‘most’ of Brazil not to account for the multitude that forgot or never thought about it, but it turns out the whole country is not affected. Equatorial Brazil does not observe DST, only ten of the country’s 26 states go through this process twice a year.
DST is observed in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Goias, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul, and also the Distrito Federal.
It is my third year living full time in Rio, and it seems to always be a different time difference with my friends and family back in the U.S., so it is time to get a handle on it.
Almost half of the year, in Brazil’s winter months, we are just one hour ahead of New York (EST), when their summer enjoys DST.
The other almost half of the year it is Brazil’s DST, and in much of the northern hemisphere, they switch back, leaving Rio three hours ahead. It is only in between these dates that Rio is two hours ahead of New York.
Confused? Here is the breakdown. Brazil Daylight Savings Time in 2011/2012 is October 16 – February 19th. The U.S. Daylight Savings in 2011 is March 13th to November 6th. So for three weeks in October/November we are two hours ahead, and then again for a few weeks in February/March.
Thankfully there is a team of experts in charge of managing this for us, and tell us what time it is.
In other time related notes, it is time for Brazil to rein in their corruption. We support this as much as we can, and made the marches against corruption our front page story this week, in an effort to make our community aware of the movement and hopefully find ways to participate.
Unfortunately as we were writing our positive story of change, major media was tracking yet another corruption scandal involving the Minister of Sport, Orlando Silva, Brazil’s front-man for getting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics ready for the world stage. We’ll have more on that soon I’m sure.
Summertime also means dengue fever time so we want to make sure the community is aware of the risks and symptoms and tracks the public campaign to control an epidemic. It seems high hopes have been dashed already but hopefully with some media attention the right precautions can be taken.
It is also time for Carnival, and we have our first Carnival story of the year this week, the reduction of bloco parties in Zona Sul (South Zone). Most gringos in my peer group seem to dread Carnival because it means a month of crazed hoards of urinating drunks dancing through the streets.
But what can we do? It’s Brazil, it’s Rio and it’s time.