Dry days are every drinking enthusiast's nightmare, especially when you’re not aware of it. Imagine this, it’s been a long day at work and you’re looking to unwind with a drink at your favorite bar or grab a wine bottle on the way home. But here’s a surprise for you - it’s a dry day and what you were looking forward to all day is now just be a fantasy! But don’t fret as unlike the potholes on Mumbai roads, you can avoid this bummer by stocking up a day in advance. So, to make sure your party plans with friends or wine dates don’t get canceled last minute, here is a list of all the dry days in Maharashtra for the year 2020.
What Is A Dry Day?
A dry day is a particular day in a month when buying alcohol from a liquor shop or enjoying an alcoholic beverage at a bar is banned. However, you can drink alcohol at home. Many events can result in a dry day such as a public holiday, national or state elections, or festivals. Usually, dry days call for the prohibition of alcohol for just one day but during election days, they can be extended. For example, the election commission imposes a ban on alcohol sales 48 hours ahead of the closing of polls in the voting constituency.
- January 15- Makar Sankranti
- January 26- Republic Day
- January 30- Shaheed Diwas (Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary)
- February 18- Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti
- February 19- Chhatrapati Shivaji Jayanti
Is Mahashivratri a dry day in Maharashtra?
Contrary to popular belief, the auspicious Hindu festival of Mahashivratri is not a dry day in Maharashtra. The festival which is celebrated on the new moon day in the Magha month will see the sale of alcohol continuing and bars serving alcohol.
Most people believe it's a dry day as it's a religious festival and the government usually declares dry days on auspicious festivals. However, Mahashivratri is not one of those days. In Maharashtra, the festival is held to celebrate the night when Shiva and Parvati got married. Hindus spend the day by fasting throughout the day, chanting hymns in Shiva temples, and offering milk to Shivlingam.
- March 10- Holi
- April 2- Ram Navmi
- April 6- Mahavir Jayanti
- April 10- Good Friday
- May 1- Maharashtra Day
- 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 22- Ganesh Chaturthi
- August 29- Muharram
- October 2 - Gandhi Jayanti
- October 8 - Alcohol Prohibition Week
- October 25 - Dussehra
- October 31 - Valmiki Jayanti
- November 25- Kartik Ekadashi
- November 30- Guru Nanak Jayanti
Thankfully, the months of December and June don’t have any dry days in Maharashtra so you don't have to worry about stocking up!
Why do we have dry days?
Dry days are the few days in a year where the sale of alcohol is not allowed either all over the country, in certain states or cities. The reason behind a dry day is usually a religious or national one. However, such days can be observed on election dates as well. Fortunately, there’s a limit on the number of dry days in a month - only four are allowed.
National holidays in India such as Independence Day, Republic Day, and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday are the common dry days we all know about. However, there are other festivals too where the sale of alcohol is banned, primarily due to religious sentiments.
In some states, it’s a dry day every day. Indian dry states such as Bihar and Gujarat have completely banned alcohol consumption and distribution. The reason behind Gujurat banning alcohol is based on Mahatma Gandhi's ideals. He was a strong proponent of a total alcohol ban and hence, the state government of Gujurat enforces alcohol prohibition as an homage to Mahatma Gandhi's values.
His views of alcohol were quite set and didn't even consider the sale of alcohol to make any monetary gains for the state. During a debate on the same topic, 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.” To honor his views, not only is October 2 regarded a dry day in India but it is also regarded as World No Alcohol Day since 2008.
In other states, there are different reasons for such a blanket alcohol ban such as the reduction of alcohol-induced violence in Bihar. It’s not just a one State wonder, Several studies have shown how states which have stricter alcohol consumption laws in place report lower threats of violence against women.
Dry days are also held on election dates to stop political parties from bribing voters with alcohol in the rural areas. Previous reports by the election commission have said that as much as Rs 192.067 crore (about $28 million) worth of alcohol intended for bribes has been seized so far by the authorities. To prevent this malpractice, certain States have banned liquor sales on election days to maintain the sanctity of democracy in India.