We all celebrate many times a year. Birthdays when you know you’ll get a free slice of cake, Holidays where we’re not sure where the tradition came from but we gladly partake, personal family celebrations of benchmarks as simple as getting your first set of A’s on a report card, the list goes on and on. We even have a gathering with food and drink following someone’s death. So why not celebrate divorce?
We’ve mentioned Japan before to talk about the antiquated ideals on child custody and the country’s struggle to join other modern nations and international laws. However, one area which they seem to be far ahead of other countries is how they are changing their perceptions of divorce. It’s becoming a common custom in Japan to partake in a “Divorce Ceremony” at the closure of one’s marriage. It’s a ritualized, celebratory, undertaking that has nearly tripled in frequency since the earthquake in March.
According to Reuters, in the wake of all of the tragedy, many couples took a close look at their lives and decided to move in another direction — namely, away from one another. However, instead of mourning the break-up of the marriage — on top of everything else — the couples are celebrating.
The ceremony involves a number of things resembling the wedding: rings, a couple, friends, and family. But, there are a few key differences.
Firstly the dress. Many divorcing women choose to wear bright, not somber, colors like yellow. There are even designers such as Akiue Go, who give their clothing divorce-specific attention. Akiue says, “I designed this dress so the woman’s back looks the most beautiful when she turns around and walks away.”
The rings in the ceremony are not exchanged, nor returned, but destroyed. The couple holds a mallet together and literally smashes their wedding bands, as a symbolic and literal conclusion to their union.
After all this does the couple walk out of the venue in shame? Of course not. There is a buffet for guests, a small party, even some music, dancing or other forms of light entertainment.
While celebrating divorce may seem odd when most hide it from even their closest family members in a mixture of shame and guilt, such ceremonies help the couples deal with the divorce and see it simply as another step in their life, rather than a failure. Tomoharu Saito and his former wife Miki celebrated their separation days before they were set to file for divorce. Tomoharu was initially surprised at the ease at which they were able to let go, but in the end saw the benefits of the ritual.
“I did not think the ring could be crushed that easily, but it did,” he said.
“I was shocked but at the same time, I feel it helped me make a clean break.”
Some stars in the U.S. such as Jack White have also caught on, holding divorce parties for their family and friends, celebrating the transfer of a marriage to “friendship.”
Orlando lawyer Jeffrey Feulner and the Men’s Divorce Law Firm encourage people to overcome the stressful nature of divorce in their own way. It’s important to remember to take time out for yourself and your own mental health, be it with a party or just a few hours to one’s self. If you need help handling the legal aspects of divorce so you can completely move on contact us today.