By Arab News
By Aseel Bashraheel
Parties to celebrate divorces have become a trend in the Kingdom as divorced women have become accepted by society.
The stigma following women in Saudi Arabia whose marriages have ended has been, for the most part, eradicated, and the divorce rate rose marginally in 2017.
In the past, divorced women were marginalized, assumed to be barren or unfit for remarriage if divorced. Nowadays, divorced women can walk with their heads held high without having to worry about how society perceives them, and they can easily remarry if they please.
In recent years, celebrations have become frequent enough to instigate a trend. Some shunned the idea because they believed no joy could come of the separation of a married couple and their children. Others dismissed the notion as a cry for attention, while many believed it has stemmed from the injustice endured for the duration of the marriage.
Amani Al-Ghoraibi, a master’s student at King Abdulaziz University, told Arab News about a divorce celebration she attended. “It was actually my aunt’s. She felt relieved after the legal procedures were concluded and her papers got settled, not to mention relieved at being rid of him. She rented a cabin at a resort and invited the entire family to stay for a couple of days. There was a feast of goat roast (thabeeha) and the family brought her a cake.”
Doaa Abdullah was 13 when her mother and father separated. “I remember feeling confused at the time… my mom threw a big party with a DJ and all, and she invited all her friends and relatives. When it was time to cut the cake, I was happy to help her with it. She’d been trying to get a divorce for several years and felt the need to celebrate when it finally happened.”
Mohammed Adel told Arab News about how his uncles celebrated with his mother, Fatima, when the court allowed her legally to leave her husband through khula. Khula is a second solution for women whose divorce papers are not approved by a judge; women can separate from their husbands by returning the sum of the dowry to the husband.
“My uncles and relatives picked her up from court and told her they were taking her out to celebrate her khula. They did it to show her she wasn’t alone and that she had people around her who care for her deeply.
“She had suffered a lot at the hands of my father and was treated poorly. He even wanted to keep her from seeing us. When we got to the restaurant and she realized what was happening, she was speechless with joy, and seeing her happy made me happy, too.”