Divorce parties: tacky or tasteful?
That's the question tackled in a recent CBS Miami segment. And it turns out, divorce experts are divided.
Couples counselor Donna Martini told CBS that the celebrations help facilitate the moving on process.
“You’re allowed to be who you are and allowed to pursue your happiness so this is a way to mark that, to say 'OK, the hardship, the really tough part is over now,'” she said in the segment.
But psychiatrist Harris Straightner said that divorce parties send the wrong message, particularly if the couple has children.
“To celebrate something that did not result in a good union, that goes against the vows that somebody took,” he said.
Celebrities are no stranger to the concept. The White Stripes' Jack White and model Karen Elson announced their 2011 split by sending invitations to a joint divorce party, and Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker's ex-wife, Shanna Moakler, threw a divorce party in 2006, complete with a divorce cake.
We want to know: would you throw a divorce party? Let us know in the poll, then click through the slideshow below for interesting divorce customs from around the world.
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. The temple was historically a refuge for women looking to escape unhappy marriages, the temple museum's director, Tadashi Takagi, told The Telegraph in March 2010.
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.
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.
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 parties apologize 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.
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.
In July 2011, Reuters reported on the rising popularity of divorce ceremonies in Japan, an uptick they attributed to couples reassessing their lives in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that had struck months earlier. According to Reuters, the ceremonies typically cost 55,000 yen ($690), include a buffet meal and end with the ritual smashing of the couple's wedding rings with a gavel.
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.