It is a known phenomenon that a dry day can spoil the best day. At a time when everything from liquor stores to bars to breweries is closed, if you don’t have booze stashed in your liquor cabinet, you’re practically doomed.
In a city like Delhi, dry days can be particularly annoying. With so many options at your disposal, not being able to go out and drink after a tough day can feel like you’ve been dealt the short straw. Another reason why dry day spoils the party especially in Delhi is that it sees more alcohol consumption than any part of the country. A joint study by All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) revealed that Delhites consumer 5 lac litres of alcohol worth about 6 crores every month! Therefore, when a dry day is enforced in Delhi, it hurts more than usual.
However, as always, Delhites have figured out the jugaad for “dry days” as well. “Well in Delhi, I just go to my friends’ house in Gurgaon which is like 30 minutes away. But since it is across the border and a different state, you can easily get alcohol there” said *Nikhil.
But if you’re not looking to do that, the easiest way to make sure dry days in Delhi don't spoil your plans is by knowing in advance when they're scheduled.
What Is A Dry Day?
A dry day refers to a particular day of the calendar when the sale of alcohol is banned. On this day, liquor shops, as well as bars and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol, aren't allowed. Multiple events can result in a dry day, such as national or state elections, festivals etc.
On this day, not only is the sale of alcohol banned, even consumption of alcohol is banned in public places. Since alcohol is a subject under the State List in the Constitution of India the laws governing alcohol vary from state to state.
While dry days are only restricted to a particular day in most cases, they may have different durations when an election takes place. The election commission imposes a ban on alcohol sale 48 hours ahead of the closing of polls in the voting constituency.
Why Do Dry Days Happen In India?
Dry days in India happen for a variety of reasons.
They are declared mainly to respect the patriotic or religious sentiments of the public. While some dry days are commonly known, such as Independence Day or the Republic Day, dry days aren’t only restricted to these national holidays.
For example, the day our Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was born is also regarded as a dry day. This is because he was a strong proponent of total prohibition. This is also the reason why alcohol is banned in the entire state of Gujarat. The state enforces alcohol prohibition as a homage to Mahatma Gandhi’s values.
His views on alcohol are widely known. Once, when he was part of a debate discussing the monetary gains one makes from the sale of alcohol he said “I venture to suggest to you that it is a matter of deep humiliation for the country to find its children educated from drink revenue. We shall deserve the curse of posterity if we do not wisely decide to stop the drink evil, even though we may have to sacrifice the education of our children.”
Therefore, not only is October 2 regarded as a dry day in India, but it is also a day regarded as World No Alcohol Day since 2008.
Some states, such as Bihar also practice prohibition. Another argument in favour of dry days and alcohol prohibition, in general, is that it helps in reducing gender inequality. Several studies have shown how states which have stricter alcohol consumption laws in place report lower threats of violence against women.
Additionally, during elections, dry days are held because in the past it has been found that alcohol has been used to bribe voters in the rural areas.
During the elections, reports are widespread of liquor and cash being seized by the election commission. A report showed that as much as Rs192.067 crore (about $28 million) worth of alcohol intended for bribes has been seized so far by the authorities. Therefore, the concept of a dry day is used when elections are around the corner, to ensure that liquor is not used as an incentive to create a vote bank and the purity of the democratic process is maintained.
Another reason why dry days or prohibition is practiced is to curtail the growing consumption of Alcohol in India. India’s is one of the fastest-growing markets for alcohol consumption. To prevent public health and safety issues, dry days and prohibition of alcohol are used as federal mechanisms. Therefore states like Gujarat, Bihar, Manipur etc have enforced complete prohibition on alcohol in their states.
Different Type Of Dry Days
While you may know that you can’t get alcohol on dry days, what many people don’t know is that there are different type of dry days as well! Dry days can be divided into broadly 4 categories.
State Dry Day – In this case, a dry day is observed only in the concerned state on a particular day. It is allowed for people in other states to consume alcohol and there are no restrictions on the same.
National Dry Day – A national dry day means drinking is prohibited for all the states and union territories on that particular day.
International Dry Day – In this case, the blanket ban on alcohol for a particular day increases to the entire world. Examples of this include the International Dry Day on October 2nd
Election Days - These dry days occur when an election is taking place. Election Dry days are enforced during the voting process as well as on the day the counting of votes takes place.
Now that you know everything you possibly could about the history and context of dry days in the country, here’s a complete list of dry days being observed in the city this year. Read it, save it and send it to all your friends to make sure you know when the dry days in your city are!
List Of Dry Days In Delhi This Year
January 15: Makar Sankranti
January 26: Republic Day
January 31: Mahatma Gandhi’s Death Anniversary
February 6-8: Delhi Government Elections Day
February 11: Day of Results of Delhi Election
February 18: Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti
February 21:Maha Shivratri
April 2: Ram Navami
April 6: Mahavir Jayanti
April 10: Good Friday
May 7: Buddha Purnima
May 25: Eid Ul Fitr
July 1: Ashadi Ekadashi
July 31:Bakri Eid
August 12: Janmashtami
August 15: Independence Day
August 29: Muharram
October 2:Gandhi Jayanti
November 14: Diwali
November 30: Guru Nanak Jayanti
December 25: Christmas Day
Thankfully, the months of September and June don’t have any dry days listed, so drink away all you want!
So that’s the full list of dry days Delhi is going to see in 2020. Keep this in mind and plan your trip to the local liquor shop to make sure you don't have a bad Friday night nor are there any unplanned surprises. Because who likes to see a drinking session get spoilt because of a dry day? Happy drinking!