A New Trend … Divorce Ceremonies
October 3, 2011
You’re invited. Come one, come all, to watch us end our marriage. There might even be wine and a buffet. It’s a party y’all!
Sound like fun?
Yes, there is a new trend emerging in Japan, called the Divorce Ceremony. It might sound like a joke, or maybe even a Saturday Night Live skit, but it’s happening and it’s real.
The ceremony to mark a couple’s ending of their marriage costs 55,000 yen ($690) and it includes a buffet meal, where the now exes sit at separate tables and entertain their guests. The divorce ceremony ends with one special ritual—the smashing of their wedding rings with a hammer. Ouch.
The divorce ceremony “pioneer” if you will, Hiroki Terai, has performed nearly 100 ceremonies over the past couple of years. He’s even been known to bring in children of the divorcing couple, and show them a presentation of why their parents couldn’t make their marriage work, (example… one husband’s hidden debts, the parents had different hobbies).
Why is this becoming a trend? Why would you publicize a very private matter? Why would you invite guests to showcase and celebrate the end of something that once was sacred and happy? But really, is this any different than planning or attending a funeral? I’m just playing devil’s advocate here.
In fact, similar to a funeral, when we mourn the loss and honor the life of someone special who has deceased, it gives us closure. It gives us the chance to move on. Same can be argued with a divorce ceremony, because divorce can be like mourning a death. The divorce ceremony does give the couple the chance to review what went wrong, wish each other well in their new separate lives, gain closure, and move on.
The first time I read about these ceremonies in North America was in an article on Charles Bronfman, successful businessman and fellow Montrealer who threw a “Divorce Party.” Mr. Bronfman, 79, told the Globe and Mail newspaper “Our differences were in everything we do. We thought those differences could mesh, but we found out the opposite. So we thought, why not tell our friends and thank them for helping us out?”
Call me nuts, but it sounds kind of civilized. What do you think? Are divorce ceremonies outrageous, or a good idea? I’d love to hear your thoughts.