Divorce Customs from Around the World
From “flushing” your last marriage away, to a religious ceremony with your friends and family, these divorce traditions from around the world may give you some inspirations for how to put your own past behind you.
1. The Divorce Toilet
One Japanese temple lets visitors flush a failed marriage down the toilet… literally. At the Mantokuji Temple, located in Gunma Prefecture in central Japan, visitors rid themselves of bad relationship karma by writing their breakup wishes on a piece of paper and flushing them down the toilet, according to Reuters.
Though you don’t have to travel to Japan to engage in this divorce ritual. You may find any toilet equally therapeutic for flushing away those bad thoughts.
2. The Divorce Mass
In November 2000, CNN reported on German bishop Margot Kaessmann’s call for churches to introduce a religious ceremony for those going through divorces.
One of Kaessmann’s proposals was a Mass of Lament, where family and friends would gather in a church and listen as the divorcing couple explained their reasons for ending the marriage.
3. Divorce Ceremonies
In April 2012, the New York Times highlighted the growing trend of divorce ceremonies. The ceremonies are highly personal, and can include everything from an elaborate, vow-filled ceremony witnessed by friends and family to a symbolic tossing of a wedding band into the Seine River, as one woman profiled by the Times did.
4. A Ceremony of Hope
The Unitarian Universalists’ divorce ceremony, called a “ceremony of hope” takes place in a church and is done in the company of a minister and an intimate group of friends and family, just like a wedding. In this way, the same community who helped the couple celebrate the beginning of the marriage is there to commemorate the end,according to Beliefnet.
During the ceremony, the divorcing partiesapologize to one another and seek forgiveness for pain they may have inflicted during the marriage.
The ceremonies take place whenever the participants are ready, before or after a civil divorce has taken place.
5. Toasting to the End of a Marriage
As several outlets have reported recently, divorcing couples are increasingly hosting divorce parties to mark the end of their marriages and to celebrate their new single lives.
Celeb couples seemed to be on the forefront of the trend. In June 2011, model Karen Elson and rocker husband Jack White invited friends and family to celebrate “their 6th anniversary and their upcoming divorce.”
Still, the growing trend leaves critics wondering if it’s in bad taste to toast the end of a marriage.
6. Divorce Certificates
The Jing people, one of China’s ethnic minority groups, have a very particular way of signing off on divorce.
In “The Marriage Customs Among China’s Ethnic Minority Groups,” author Zhongyi Jia explains that tradition holds that the certificate of divorce cannot be written inside the home. Once the certificate is signed, the pen and inkstone used must be thrown away because it’s believed that they contain bad luck.