The rise of the divorce party

Just when you thought that you couldn’t manage your current social obligations of attending friends’ birthday meals, engagement parties, stag/hen parties, weddings (most likely in a foreign country), baby showers and gender reveal parties, along came the US import of the divorce party.

In a world where people increasingly live their lives through the prism of social media, the divorce party is just another opportunity for content. Personal announcements about people’s lives have become de rigueur on social media. We can track the lives of our friends’ children from baby scan to their first day of school. Staged and cringe-worthy influencer engagement proposals are becoming increasingly popular, weddings are over the top elaborate affairs, often becoming a week-long festival rather than a one-day event, and celebrities are making public announcements when their relationships end. So it makes sense that the divorce party would become the latest event in a person’s life that they can publicise.

While the concept of a divorce party may be a fairly new phenomenon, many other cultures have rituals to mark the transition from marriage back to the single life. In Judaism, a document called the ‘Get’ is presented from husband to wife in the presence of a rabbi and witnesses, the point of which is to symbolise the end of the union between the parties.

In Japan, divorcing couples often smash their wedding ring with a mallet and members of African Beidane ethnic group hold divorce ceremonies to welcome women back into the community, signalling to potential suitors that they are back on the market.

Until now, western cultures have viewed divorce as a sad event. Often the person getting divorced would be met with feelings of pity and sympathetic looks. Now it would seem that the tide is turning and divorce parties are viewed as way of individual’s demonstrating that they are ready to embrace the next stage in their life, in celebration of the fact that they had the courage to take action to end a situation that wasn’t working for them.

So, no matter what your view is on this new social event, no doubt you will soon be added to a WhatsApp group to discuss in detail the arrangements for a colleague or acquaintance’s divorce party. Who knows, you may even be able to re-wear the outfit you wore to their wedding!