Unlike the previous episodes, you cannot directly change the time and date in Animal Crossing New Horizons. Rest assured, this is still possible, but you have to go through the menu on your Nintendo Switch.
To prevent players from cheating this way, Nintendo has put in motion the content updates needed to access the various events in the game. For example, even if you bring the time forward to December 25th, you won't be able to enjoy the Christmas festivities as you'll have to wait until December in real life to download an update.
Thus, the first update of its kind took place on Friday, March 20, 2020, the official release date of the game, so that the whole world could enjoy Easter and Spring.
How to change the date?
Do not start your Animal Crossing New Horizons. It all happens in the Nintendo Switch menu.
- Start your console
- Go to the Settings menu
- At the very bottom of the Settings list, you will find "System".
- This is where you can click on "Date and Time"
- Just say "no" in "Synchronize clock with Internet".
- This way, you can freely modify the time and date of your console.
- Start the game
Changing the date of your console (and therefore of the game) regularly may cause weeds to grow on your island and affect your relations with your neighbors (causing them to move), but this will not affect your backup data.