Divorce isn't pretty, but couples in Japan have found a way to make it amicable and celebrate in style. Just as most folks have a special ceremony and a party when they get married, Japanese couples who have chosen to divorce have found a way to split with a divorce ceremony that ritually separates the unhappy couples.
According to reports, the divorce ceremonies in Japan consist of a buffet meal and end with a ceremonial smashing of wedding rings--a somewhat reversal from most wedding ceremonies that have vows, rings and end with a meal and celebration.
The divorce ceremony sees couples dress in Sunday best and is held just before the couple files for divorce. Obviously, a divorce ceremony would only happen with a couple who are divorcing on good terms and able to still be in the same room, but for many that would not be the case. As a point of symbolism, it must certainly stand as a fitting end to something that also began with a ceremony and celebration.
Divorce parties may or may not be here to stay and who knows, the idea may catch on in more countries than just Japan, but this certainly isn't the only interesting tradition and custom where divorce is concerned.
Take for instance the ancient Romans. Not only did they take over most of the world, but they had some unique ideas about marriage and divorce.An unhappy couple could divorce by declaring in front of seven witnesses that they no longer wished to live together. Nothing else was required.
The divorced woman received her full dowry back then returned to her father's protection. If she was an independent woman prior to the marriage--meaning she took care of herself and was not a ward of her father--she returned to that state after divorce.
The Egyptians saw marriage and divorce pretty much the same as the Romans. It was not a legal contract but rather a personal decision that couples entered into or dropped out of by declaration of intent to live together or apart.
It was tough--and expensive--to divorce your spouse if you lived in Victorian England. The law was definitely on the husband's side and obtaining a divorce was so difficult that most couples simply didn't do it. They stayed married and made the best of things.
Jewish law allows that a man and a woman may divorce by prior consent of both when the husband hands the wife a get in front of kosher witnesses and a rabbinical court made up of three rabbis. A get is a witnessed document that declares the man's intent to divorce his wife and must be initiated by the husband. Even if a Jewish couple receives a civil divorce, they are still considered 100 percent married unless they go through the proper steps of presenting the get in order to divorce according to Jewish law.