According to several reports, the Devandra Fanavis led Maharashtra government has received a request from a delegation of Muslim leaders to make the 24th of December a dry day.
What’s A Dry Day?
A dry day is a day on which the sale of alcohol is prohibited, although consumption is allowed. In India, dry days are observed on some national holidays such as Republic Day, Independence Day or Gandhi Jayanti. Specific states can also choose to have dry days on religious days, such as Holi or Mahavir Jayanti.
Why The Request?
This year, Eid-e-Milad, a religious day for Muslims which marks the birth of their prophet Muhammad, falls on December 24th. Because of that, a collection of Muslim MLAs, representing their community approached the Maharashtra government to request that the 24th be made a dry day.
However, of course, the 24th of December is also Christmas Eve, which for Christians is an auspicious time where they prepare to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Wine is often drunk on Christmas Eve at social gatherings. Indeed, many restaurants in Mumbai traditionally organise buffets and Christmas Eve parties that include alcohol.
“On one hand, we respect the sentiments of Muslims whose religion forbids them from consuming alcoholic beverages, and on the other it is Christmas Day on 25th,” said Eknath Khadse, the Minster for Minority affairs in Maharashtra. “Sentiments of both these religions have left us in a dilemma. Though we have not decided on what has to be done, we will reach a final conclusion in a day or two,” he added.