Updated at: 11-08-2023 - By: John Lau

Good Friday, a solemn day in the Christian faith, often leaves many wondering about acceptable practices on this significant occasion.

One common question is whether consuming alcohol is appropriate or frowned upon during this time of mourning and reflection. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the significance of Good Friday within Christianity and explore Catholicism’s stance on drinking alcoholic beverages on this holy day.

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Understanding The Significance Of Good Friday In Christianity

Good Friday holds great importance in the Christian faith as it commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his subsequent death at Calvary, marking a critical moment in Christianity.

For believers, this solemn day serves to remind them of the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made by offering his life for the redemption of humanity’s sins.

The significance behind Good Friday is further emphasized through its role within Holy Week – a period leading up to Easter Sunday that includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Holy Saturday.

Along with providing an opportunity for prayer, penance and mourning among Christians worldwide, these observances allow individuals to engage in spiritual reflection regarding their relationship with God and any necessary changes they need to make moving forward.

In light of alcoholism concerns within society today, understanding Good Friday’s historical importance can serve as a source of inspiration for those struggling with addiction or seeking motivation during recovery from substance abuse-related issues.

What Is The Catholic Church’s Stance On Drinking On Good Friday?

The Catholic Church observes Good Friday as a day of fasting and abstinence, but what is the church’s stance on drinking alcohol? Find out more about the rules surrounding food and beverage consumption on this holy day.

Fasting And Abstinence Rules

The Catholic Church’s stance on fasting and abstinence, particularly during key religious observances such as Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, has deep-rooted biblical origins.

These rules are designed to encourage reflection, prayer, and self-discipline among the faithful while also offering spiritual benefits.

In addition to fasting requirements, Catholics aged 14 years old and above are expected to practice abstinence from consuming meat on these significant days.

It’s essential to note that beverages (including alcoholic ones) aren’t expressly addressed in the Church’s precepts regarding Lenten fasts or other times of required abstinence.

What Is Considered Food?

In the context of religious dietary restrictions, particularly during Good Friday, understanding what is considered food plays a crucial role in adhering to Catholic traditions and practices.

For instance, while fasting implies limiting the consumption of solid food on Good Friday (and Ash Wednesday), the Roman Catholic Church does not typically restrict water or other non-alcoholic beverages.

However, some might argue that drinks like milk could be considered food since they can provide sustenance and satisfy hunger. Furthermore, many followers abstain from eating meat but may consume seafood or eggs as alternatives – showcasing another aspect of defining permissible foods within this religious framework.

Is Alcohol Discouraged?

While the Catholic Church does not explicitly prohibit drinking alcohol on Good Friday, it also doesn’t encourage excessive consumption. In fact, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral statement that emphasizes penance and abstinence as part of observing this holy day.

While the Church views alcohol as inherently good and created for joyful celebration, it also acknowledges its potential danger. As such, Catholics are expected to be responsible in their drinking habits and mindful of others around them.

It’s worth noting that while fasting on Good Friday only applies to solid foods, consuming alcohol is allowed but should be done in moderation and with respect for the significance of the day.

Overall, it’s important to approach Good Friday with reverence and sobriety even if one chooses to drink alcohol as part of their observance. It should not detract from reflection on Jesus Christ’s ultimate sacrifice nor hamper participation in religious activities or charitable works meant to honor His memory.

The Tradition Of Drinking On Good Friday

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On Good Friday, there are various traditions associated with drinking alcohol, such as beer and pretzels or the beer exchange.

Beer And Pretzels

Beer and pretzels are a longstanding tradition during Lent, with the combination considered the “official beverage and food” of the season. In fact, according to a book on Catholic Easter customs, beer and pretzels have been enjoyed together since at least the Middle Ages.

Pretzels themselves have deep religious roots and were originally made by monks as part of their fasting and prayer during Lent. Today, many Catholics still choose to enjoy beer on Good Friday while abstaining from meat as part of their Lenten traditions.

However, it’s important to remember that moderation is key for those struggling with alcoholism.

The Beer Exchange

One interesting tradition associated with drinking on Good Friday is the Beer Exchange. This involves people bringing their own beer to a pub and then trading it with others, usually strangers.

The aim is to try different types of beer while meeting new people and having fun. However, for those struggling with alcoholism, this could be triggering and potentially harmful behavior.

It’s worth noting that laws surrounding alcohol sales on Good Friday vary depending on location. In Ireland, for example, there was an 89-year-old ban on selling alcohol which has recently been lifted due to pressure from publicans and the tourist industry who argue that it negatively impacts their business.

Alternatives To Drinking On Good Friday

Alternatives To Drinking On Good Friday

Consider opting for non-alcoholic beverages and mocktails, reflecting on the meaning of the day, participating in religious observances, or engaging in charitable or community activities as alternatives to drinking on Good Friday.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages And Mocktails

For those struggling with alcoholism, finding alternative drinking options on Good Friday is essential. Luckily, there are plenty of non-alcoholic beverage and mocktail options available for anyone who still wants to participate in the festivities without consuming alcohol.

Many bars and restaurants now offer a variety of creative mocktails made with fresh fruit juices, herbs, and spices that can be just as tasty as their alcoholic counterparts.

Additionally, dealcoholized wines and non-alcoholic beers provide some great alternatives for those wanting to enjoy something cold and refreshing without compromising sobriety.

Engaging in Dry January or participating in sober activities like volunteer work or meditation can also help reduce temptation during events where drinking is prevalent.

Reflection On The Meaning Of The Day

Taking time for contemplation and reflection on the significance of Good Friday can be a powerful way to honor this day beyond simply abstaining from alcohol.

This day marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, a significant event in Christian theology that represents sacrifice and love.

For those struggling with alcoholism, reflection on the meaning of Good Friday may offer a chance to focus on something bigger than themselves and their addiction. Engaging in religious observances or participating in charitable activities can also provide a sense of purpose beyond self-gratification.

Participation In Religious Observances

For those struggling with alcoholism, participating in religious observances on Good Friday can provide a meaningful alternative to drinking. Many churches offer services and rituals that focus on reflecting on the significance of the day, such as attending a Stations of the Cross service or spending time in prayer and contemplation.

Some may also choose to engage in charitable or community activities that align with their faith. For example, volunteering at a local shelter or food bank can be a way to honor Jesus’s message of compassion and selflessness.

Engaging In Charitable Or Community Activities

Participating in charitable or community activities on Good Friday can be a meaningful and fulfilling alternative to drinking. This could involve volunteering at local organizations, participating in fundraising events, or making charitable donations to those in need.

Engaging in charitable acts promotes social responsibility and reflects the true spirit of the day. It is an excellent way to reflect on the significance of Good Friday beyond fasting and abstinence rules.

By helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves, we can experience a sense of fulfillment that alcohol cannot provide.


Are you unsure about what beverages are allowed on Good Friday? Or maybe you’re curious about the Catholic Church’s stance on alcohol consumption during this holiday. Whatever your questions may be, check out our FAQs section for answers and more information.

Can You Drink Wine On Good Friday?

While Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence in the Catholic Church, wine can be consumed in moderation. In fact, red wine has been shown to have potential health benefits when consumed responsibly.

However, it is important to note that excessive alcohol consumption goes against church observances and biblical teachings on being filled with the Spirit instead of getting drunk on wine.

It is also essential to understand and respect the significance of the day and be mindful of others who may not choose to consume alcohol on this solemn occasion.

What Can You Drink On Good Friday?

While fasting and abstaining from meat are obligations on Good Friday for Catholics, there are no specific restrictions on drinking. However, it’s important to remember the spiritual significance of the day and drink responsibly.

Red wine, craft beer, white wine, margarita, and traditional beer are some of the best boozy beverages if you plan on drinking on Good Friday. For those who prefer nonalcoholic drinks or want to avoid alcohol altogether, alternatives like juice, tea, coffee, and milk do not technically violate the fast but refraining from ingesting any animal products such as milk is suggested.

Can You Drink Water, Coffee, Or Milk?

For those wondering about what fluids can be consumed during fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the answer is yes. Drinking water, tea, coffee, milk, and other beverages can contribute to the intake of fluids during fasting periods.

However, it’s important to note that drinking alcohol is discouraged during these times. Islamic teachings specify that only halal foods can be consumed during Ramadan, and alcohol, caffeinated tea, and coffee should be avoided by saints.

While drinking coffee technically breaks a fast, it is still possible to reap the benefits of fasting while consuming a cup of coffee.

Can You Drink Alcohol On Ash Wednesday?

According to Catholic practices, there are no restrictions on most beverages on Ash Wednesday. This means that individuals are free to drink water, coffee, or tea without any limitations.

However, it’s important to note that ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence from meat for Catholics. While the Church historically did not strictly require abstinence from alcohol during Lent, it is still recommended to exercise spiritual discipline when consuming any food or beverage during this time.

Respectful Behavior On Good Friday

Respectful behavior on Good Friday involves being mindful and understanding of the significance of the day, as well as considering others who may be observing the fast or abstaining from alcohol.

Understanding And Respecting The Significance Of The Day

Good Friday is a solemn day for Christians around the world, as it marks the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a day to reflect on and mourn this pivotal event in Christian history, and to consider what it means for our lives today.

For those struggling with alcoholism, Good Friday can be an opportunity to reflect on their relationship with drinking and how it may be impacting their spiritual life. By understanding and respecting the significance of this day, individuals can approach it with reverence and take steps towards finding peace and healing in their journey towards recovery.

Being Mindful Of Others

On Good Friday, it is crucial to be mindful of others and their beliefs. While some may choose not to drink alcohol on this day, others may feel comfortable continuing with their normal routine.

It is important to respect everyone’s choices and show compassion towards one another.

For instance, participating in religious observances, engaging in charitable or community activities or reflecting on the meaning of the day are all great ways to center our minds around remembering what Christ has done for us through His sacrifice on Good Friday while also respecting those around us who may approach the day differently.


In conclusion, the answer to whether or not you can drink on Good Friday depends largely on your religious beliefs and practices. For Catholics, fasting and abstinence are expected during this time of mourning and sacrifice.

While alcohol is not explicitly prohibited, it is discouraged as a sign of respect for the solemnity of the day. However, there are many alternative ways to observe Good Friday without alcohol consumption, such as reflection on its significance and participation in religious observances.