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Fumbling through a cut glass vaseBurning jealous pictures of marriages of friends
Passing lipstick, cotton spools
—Jellyfish, "The Glutton of Sympathy"
Breaking up is hard to do. It’s bad enough that your significant other is out of your life, but did they really have to leave all that stuff behind? Whether it’s things they gave you or things that remind you of them, they’ve got to go. So grab some matches, it’s time for a break up bonfire!
The break up bonfire is usually ceremonial and perhaps even a little spiritual. As fire is a symbol of rebirth, a break up bonfire typically represents starting anew for the character.
A variation of Defenestrate and Berate.
Anime and Manga
- Two examples from Popotan, neither of which follow a romance gone sour, but they stay true to the general idea of the trope:
- After she learns of Konami's death, Mai tries to burn the portrait she received from her in order to forget about her, but she is stopped by Mea.
- In the same episode, it's revealed that Mea's previous household did the same to their house when they found that Shizuku was not able to give them a good explanation for their travels; she could not prevent this one.
- In Clueless, Tai and Cher burn mementos from Tai's relationship with Elton.
- In Waiting to Exhale, the woman dumps all her man's belongings in The Precious Precious Car and sets it all on fire.
- In The Aeneid, Dido and her sister set fire to Aeneas's things after he abandons Dido.
Live Action TV
- In an episode of Friends, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel burn mementos of their exes when they find themselves all single on Valentine's Day and decide to do something to "cleanse" their bad luck. The firemen who attend when it inevitably gets out of control tell them that Valentine's Day is one of their busiest nights of the year, for exactly that reason.
- In NCIS Season 5, Tony throws the letter of his Love Interest into a bonfire after the relationship went way, way, way south due to him Becoming the Mask.
- The Taylor Swift song "Picture to Burn" is about burning up pictures of her ex.
- The Green Day song "Whatshername" is about the singer reminiscing about an old girlfriend whose name he can't remember. In one line, he mentions that he "made a point to burn all of the photographs."
- Implied in Miranda Lambert's "Kerosene".
- In The Simpsons episode where Milhouse's parents get divorced, Luann carefully boxes up all of Kurt's possessions and then sets fire to the box.
- A variation in Jimmy Two-Shoes, after Jimmy's Oblivious to Love nature leads him to dating a Heloise look-alike, Heloise angrily rips up her Stalker Shrine of him and tosses the remains in a vat of acid.