Myanmar Standard Time

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Myanmar Standard Time
Time zone
UTC offset
MMTUTC+06:30
Current time
12:19, 20 January 2022 MMT [refresh]
Observance of DST
DST is not observed in this time zone.

Myanmar Standard Time (MMT; Burmese: မြန်မာ စံတော်ချိန်, [mjəmà sàɰ̃dɔ̀dʑèiɰ̃]), formerly Burma Standard Time (BST), is the standard time in Myanmar, 6:30 hours ahead of UTC (UTC+06:30). MMT is calculated on the basis of 97°30′E longitude. MMT is used all year round, as Myanmar does not observe daylight saving time.

History

The Alanpya "Signal" Pagoda in Rangoon/Yangon in 1855. The time ball attached to the top of the pagoda by the British is visible.

Pre-colonial period

Myanmar did not have a standard time before the British colonial period. Each region kept its own local mean time, according to the Burmese calendar rules: sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight. The day was divided into eight 3-hour segments called baho (ဗဟို), or sixty 24-minute segments called nayi (နာရီ). Although the calendar consists of time units down to the millisecond level, the popular usage never extended beyond baho and at most nayi measurements; a gong was struck every nayi while a drum (စည်) and a large bell (ခေါင်းလောင်း) were struck to mark every baho.

Type Time Burmese name Description
Day 1 o'clock နံနက် တစ်ချက်တီး midway between sunrise and midday
2 o'clock နေ့ နှစ်ချက်တီး noon (midday)
3 o'clock နေ့ သုံးချက်တီး midway between noon and sunset
4 o'clock နေ့ လေးချက်တီး sunset
Night 1 o'clock ည တစ်ချက်တီး midway between sunset and midnight
2 o'clock ည နှစ်ချက်တီး midnight
3 o'clock ည သုံးချက်တီး midway between midnight and sunrise
4 o'clock နံနက် လေးချက်တီး sunrise

Colonial period

Burma at 6:30 ahead of the GMT on this 1928 world map of time zones

The use of a common time began in British Burma in the late 19th century. The first confirmed mention of Rangoon Mean Time (RMT) at GMT+6:24:40 being in use was in 1892, a year before the country's first time ball observatory was opened in Rangoon (Yangon) on 1 October 1893. However, the use of RMT as the common time, at least in some sectors, most probably started earlier. (The country's first rail service, between Rangoon and Prome (Pyay), began on 2 May 1877, and the non-authoritative IANA time zone database says RMT was introduced in 1880.) On 1 July 1905, a new standard time called Burma Standard Time (BST) at GMT+6:30—set to the longitude 97° 30' E, and 5 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of RMT—was first adopted by the Railways and Telegraph administrations. Although the rest of the country came to adopt BST, RMT continued to be used in the city of Rangoon at least to 1927. By 1930, however, BST apparently had been adopted in Rangoon as well.

The standard time was changed to Japan Standard Time (JST) during the Japanese occupation of the country (1942–1945) in World War II.

After independence

The standard time was reverted to GMT+6:30 after the war. It has remained ever since, even after the country's independence in 1948. The only change has been its name in English; the official English name has been changed to Myanmar Standard Time presumably since 1989 when the country's name in English was changed from Burma to Myanmar. The country does not observe a daylight saving time.

Name Period Offset from UTC Notes
Rangoon Mean Time 2 May 1877? – 30 June 1905 UTC+6:24:40 Standard time for British Burma from at least 1892 to 30 June 1905. Continued to be used in Rangoon (Yangon) at least to 1927 perhaps until 1929.
Burma Standard Time 1 July 1905 – 30 April 1942 UTC+6:30:00 First adopted by Railways and Telegraph offices in 1905. The October 2021 IANA database says it was introduced in 1920 but does not provide a source.
Japan Standard Time 1 May 1942 – 2 May 1945 UTC+09:00:00 Standard time during the Japanese occupation
Burma/Myanmar Standard Time 3 May 1945 – present UTC+06:30:00

IANA time zone database

The IANA time zone database contains one time zone named Asia/Yangon for Myanmar.

Country Code Coordinates Time Zone Comments UTC offset UTC DST offset
MM +1647+09610 Asia/Yangon +06:30 +06:30

Notes

Bibliography

  • BBC News (2 December 2011). "Who, What, Why: Should it be Burma or Myanmar?". BBC News.
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  • Kinns, Roger (2020). "Time Signals for Mariners in India, Burma and Ceylon" (PDF). Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage. Chiang Mai: National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand. 23 (3): 523–552. Bibcode:2020JAHH...23..523K.
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