Can You Get Alcohol On Good Friday? Everywhere?

One of the most important Catholic holidays is Good Friday, which happens in the middle of the Catholic Holy Week. It is often a solemn and somber day that requires Catholics to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ. However, does that also mean that Catholics cannot drink on Good Friday? Can you even get alcohol on Good Friday?

In the United States where Good Friday is not a national holiday, it is possible to get alcohol at normal times and places in most every location. In countries such as Australia and New Zealand where Good Friday is a national holiday, stores are closed and alcohol cannot be bought.

Christians all over the world and not just the United States tend to view alcohol differently. Even though it comprises over 50% of the world’s Christians, not everyone is Catholic. Some Protestants look negatively on alcohol consumption and some don’t. Some note Good Friday as special and some do not.

Let’s look at some different areas and see if it is possible to get alcohol on Good Friday.


Do Catholics Drink Alcohol On Good Friday?

Good Friday is one of the most important holidays on the Catholic calendar. This day falls in the middle of the Catholic Holy Week and is widely regarded as very important for Catholics all over the world. It is the day to commemorate the death through crucifixion of Jesus Christ himself.

Catholics can drink alcohol on Good Fridays. Though they are obligated to fast on Good Friday, this pertains to restricting food and not to drinks like alcohol. Individual Catholics may choose to abstain from alcohol as their one extra sacrifice during Lent, but it is only one of many choices.

Besides fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstaining from meat on all Fridays in Lent, Catholics are supposed to choose one other sacrifice they will make during the whole of the Lenten season. Some may choose alcohol for this, while others may choose things like sugar, video games, cigars, or a host of other options.

Because of how important Good Friday is, the Church law calls Catholics all over the world to commemorate Jesus’s death in a way that is solemn and somber. Of course, the most important things that Catholics should do on Good Friday are fasting and abstaining from meat.

The Church says that Catholics are supposed to fast on Good Friday by limiting their meals to one full meal and two smaller meals throughout the day. Meanwhile, what the Catholic Church means by abstaining is to avoid eating meat on Good Friday.

Fasting and abstinence are the ways that Catholics use to sacrifice in their own way during Good Friday, just as how Jesus sacrificed his life by getting crucified on that day.

Catholic Church Law And Alcohol

Many are confused about what the Catholic Church actually teaches on many subjects. This leads many to insert their own ideas of what they believe ‘should’ be taught or what they ‘heard’ is taught. When it comes to alcohol, this happens to be the case concerning Good Friday for some.

According to Church teaching, while it might be important to fast and abstain during Good Friday, does that also mean that you should not even drink alcohol? What is the Church teaching on fasting and does that include alcohol?

The Church does not teach that any form of drink including alcohol is prohibited in any form of fasting. In the 1966 apostolic constitution Paenitemini, Pope Paul VI stated what fasting entailed. His description did not include alcohol or any other drink in any way.

Though drinking one protein shake after another would curb hunger and go against the ‘spirit’ or meaning of fasting, drinking any type of drink in general is not prohibited. Here is what Pope Paul VI had to say about it…

The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening, observing—as far as quantity and quality are concerned—approved local custom.

Paenitemini, (norm III:2), Pope Paul VI

When you look at Church law, what the Church says is that you are not allowed to eat more than one full meal and consume meat during Good Friday. The Church tends to be silent in how it looks at liquid consumption, as there is nothing that says that you can or cannot drink certain types of liquids or even limit your consumption of such liquids.

It is only in relation to solid foods that the Church tends to be specific on Good Friday.

In the absence of any Church law or mandate, alcohol consumption is not considered prohibited among different Catholics all over the world. That means that you can drink alcohol as long as it is in moderation during Good Friday.

In fact, there are some local churches in the United States that invite their members to drink right after Good Friday service.

However, this may sometimes depend on certain factors, such as the cultures and traditions of your location and on how your local Catholic church sees alcohol consumption on Good Friday. Still, the general consensus is that alcohol consumption is not prohibited for Catholics during Good Friday.

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Where Can You Get Alcohol On Good Friday?

While we did say that you can drink alcohol on Good Friday, the problem here is whether or not you could even get alcohol on that day. So, can you even buy alcohol during Good Friday?

The answer to that question depends on where you are.

You can get alcohol anywhere it is normally sold in the U.S. during normal business hours on Good Friday. Though, there may be individual businesses that close early. Ireland in 2018 lifted their ban on alcohol sales on Good Friday, but in Australia and New Zealand all stores are closed.

Let’s look at some countries and areas around the world to get a sense of where alcohol can be bought on this solemn religious day.

The United States And Alcohol On Good Friday

In the US, there is generally no law that will prevent any business establishment from opening and operating during Good Friday. To that effect, it is business as usual for most places in the US as there is no law that will prevent the stores from selling alcohol on that day. 

However, Washington County, New York is an exception as this is the only county in the entire United States that prohibits the sale of alcohol on Good Friday even though it is only for a three-hour period. The county is taking steps to scrap this form of ‘Blue Law’.

Alcohol Sales In Australia And New Zealand On Good Friday

Meanwhile, in places such as Australia and New Zealand, Good Friday is a national holiday. All stores and shops are generally closed in these countries with a few exceptions.

So, while there is no law that indicates that stores and shops are not allowed to get alcohol on Good Friday, the fact that they are closed is a clear indication that you cannot buy alcohol on that day.

In most every other country, there are no laws that will mandate the closure of shops and stores or even prevent them from selling alcohol on Good Friday. This includes devout Catholic countries such as the Philippines and Cuba. In such countries, malls, shops, and stores are generally closed, but such a decision depends on the private individuals running them.

But the fact is that there are no laws that prevent them from selling alcohol, and that means that they can do so when they are open for business.

Can You Buy Alcohol On Good Friday In Ireland?

When it comes to alcohol consumption, it can be difficult not to think of Ireland. That is because Ireland is one of the biggest alcohol consumers in the entire world. It consistently ranks in the top 10 in alcohol consumption. As such, there is no doubt that the Irish are heavy binge drinkers that love to drink as a hobby.

As big as alcohol consumption in Ireland is, what does that mean for Irish during Good Friday? Can you buy alcohol on Good Friday in Ireland?

Since 1927, there was a law that mandated that pubs and stores were not allowed to sell alcohol during Good Friday. That means that the Irish had to drink only what they had at home if they wanted to drink on Good Friday.

However, the law was scrapped in 2018 to mark the first time since 1927 that the Irish people could now buy drinks during Good Friday. The move was in response to how the general public was divided when it comes to that law because not everyone in Ireland is Catholic. Moreover, the law also affected the tourism and catering sector of the country. However, the sale of alcohol is still banned in Northern Ireland, albeit only until 5pm.

Wrapping Up Alcohol On Good Friday…

If you are in the mood for a ‘spirit’ or two on Good Friday or if you are drinking wine during a family meal, there is no problem with it according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Some protestant denominations would beg to differ, but with over 39,000 denominations, no article could possibly address them all.

It will not be a problem to buy alcohol in the normal manner and at approved locations in most any area of the United States. In Ireland the ban on alcohol sales on Good Friday was lifted in 2018. Yet, in places like Australia and New Zealand, stores are closed due to it being a national holiday and alcohol cannot be bought in most areas.

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