After the Quake, Divorce Ceremonies Are the Rage in Japan

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Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

Japanese couple at their divorce ceremony

In Japan, falling out of love means everyone gets to party.

According to Reuters, celebratory divorce ceremonies have tripled since the devastating tsunami and earthquake ravaged the country in March. And in the wake of all of that tragedy, many couples took a close look at their lives and decided to move in another direction — namely, away from one another. But instead of mourning the break-up of the marriage — on top of everything else — the couples are celebrating.

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Somewhat ironically, the ceremony that celebrates a couple’s split sounds strikingly similar to the ceremony that brought them together: there’s a special dress, a buffet for guests and ritual involving rings.

However, there are a few key differences apart from the obvious outcome. A divorce dress, for instance, differs from a wedding dress in the details. Miki Saito chose a yellow color for her dress and the dress’s designer, Akiue Go, gave the gown divorce-specific attention, saying, “I designed this dress so the woman’s back looks the most beautiful when she turns around and walks away.”

And the divorce ring ceremony isn’t an exchanging of rings but a destroying of rings. At the end of the ceremony, couples smash their wedding rings with gavels, pretty much literally crushing their chances of reconciliation.

While all of this might seem a bit unusual — after all, this is Jack White territory — NewsFeed finds the whole divorce celebration idea refreshing. Nowadays divorce is just as much a fact of life as marriage is and it’s obviously sometimes for the best. If the couple feels amicable enough to celebrate their split, why shouldn’t everyone partake?  Then again, we’ll use any excuse to party. (via Reuters)

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Megan Gibson is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeganJGibson. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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