How to have the longest birthday possible
October 15, 2011 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I really like birthdays. I want to have the longest birthday that is technically possible. How do I achieve this?

I have been discussing with my flatmate the possibility of a birthday exceeding 24 hours. I would like to know what is the absolute maximum amount of time I could spend on any one date, in order to make my birthday as long as technically possible.

For example, if I were to start my birthday, the 1st December on one side of the international date line, then fly across the line without going into the 30th November, how many extra hours could I add onto my allotted 24?

Bonus points for anyone who knows whether this has been attempted and achieved.

posted by v.barboni to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It pains me that I have this knowledge in my brain... Paris Hilton pulled off five birthday parties in five different time zones for her 21st birthday.
posted by AlliKat75 at 3:37 PM on October 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

I think the only way to do this without popping back into Nov. 30 is to start Dec. 1 at the first timezone to the west of the international date line, and then fly west until you're in the first timezone to the east of the IDL, taking care that you don't fly more than 1 time zone per hour. That way you would theoretically get 48 (47?) hours of contiguous birthday.

I did something similar on my 30th which involved flying east from Japan to the US, but I suppose at some point I skipped back a day, although I was probably sleeping at the time, so it didn't make much difference. In all I think I got about 36 hours from first entering my bday to leaving it for the last time.
posted by logicpunk at 3:42 PM on October 15, 2011

Go north/south. Go really north/south and you can walk through all of the timezones in a few minutes. No flights necessary (well, at least not for the birthday part.) In this manner, you'll get just shy of 48 hours of birthday, it would be something like 47:59:59.

Next, there's slowing the spin of the earth, so "days" last longer. (We don't really define days astrologically/astronomically really.)

And then if you really, really want to cheat, go to another planet where "days" last much longer than they do on earth. Leave before sundown, your flight is considered "day time" since the sun hasn't set, be sure to land on your destination planet in the "morning".
posted by Brian Puccio at 3:44 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, also, you don't want to cross the date line going the wrong way, then you skip forward a day. I.e., it it's 3pm on your birthday now and then you cross the wrong way, now it's 3pm the day after your birthday. Start at the dateline and travel around the world moving away from it. Go further north/south and you won't have to go nearly as far to get to the next timezone.
posted by Brian Puccio at 3:48 PM on October 15, 2011

If your birthday is at the start of December then you could opt for either a very light day at the Antarctic-good if you like outdoor parties- or constant darkness at the Arctic- good if you like to be able to appreciate the candles on your cake. If you would care to classify your day as the amount of time before the sun either rises, or sets, then you would be good for a celebration of several weeks.
posted by rongorongo at 4:00 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could get up to 48 hours if you hang out in the Pacific.

As this video shows, there are actually two datelines -- the International one in the middle of the ocean, and wherever it happens to be midnight. When it's midnight at the dateline, the whole world is (temporarily) on the same day. But as midnight travels west and the Pacific rotates east, the wedge of the new day in between them expands until it covers the whole world twenty-four hours later. At that point, midnight crosses the dateline from the east, closing the remaining sliver of the old day and birthing the new, which itself begins to expand with the rotation of the earth, displacing the previous day.

So what you'd want to do is stay west of the dateline when the passage of midnight starts your birthday, partying it up as the widening wedge of your anniversary expands around the world. Then when midnight comes again and the whole planet is celebrating your existence, hop to the eastern side of the dateline where it's the day before, and party it up again at the edge of your day as it shrinks like a dying Pac-Man until the final end comes 48 hours after you started.

Caveat: that's assuming a straight dateline -- you might be able to exploit the extreme angular distortions in the real-world dateline to buy an extra hour or two, but thinking about it makes my head hurt. Plus, you'd need an oceangoing boat so you could travel from, say, the Line Islands at +14 to Howard Island at -12. But assuming you stick to something like Samoa with some short-range island-hopping to cross the line, you'd get 48 hours. Or you could shiver at the poles, but where's the fun in that?
posted by Rhaomi at 4:06 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

I did it very simple : it's my birthday , right ? So I make it 3 days long . Why not ?
posted by Oli D. at 4:33 PM on October 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wake up in Fiji. Party for a few hours. Hop on a plane to Sydney. Party for a few hours. Hop on a plane to Perth. Party for a few hours. Hop on a plane to India. Party for a few hours. Hop on a plane to Eastern Europe/Africa. Party for a few hours. And so on, and so forth. Just keep travelling west, ensuring that the flight times have you arriving at your destination early enough so you don't 'lose time'.

Use this map to ensure that your flight times coincide with your desired time-rewinding.

It would take some organisation, but I imagine it would be possible. And exhausting.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:40 PM on October 15, 2011

The flying-around-the-world thing is only necessary if you want to chase midnight and celebrate New Year's Eve in different time zones. If you just want to remain in the same day as long as possible, it would be easiest to stay near the International Dateline.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:54 PM on October 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have done this- I had two Christmases once. Spent the day in Sydney and flew to Hawaii Christmas night, arrived 9am Christmas morning.
posted by wingless_angel at 12:21 AM on October 16, 2011

Thank you all for your responses. If I do decide to have an extra long birthday, I will make sure you are all invited.
posted by v.barboni at 7:47 AM on October 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

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