When Jewish girls reach twelve years old and boys reach thirteen they are considered old enough to be responsible for their own actions in Jewish tradition. They are also recognized as old enough to follow the religious customs without assistance from their parents. This age is celebrated through a ceremony called the Bat Mitzvah (for girls) and Bar Mitzvah (for boys.) It typically involves some religious studying [cramming] to enable the child to recite a portion of the Torah in front of friends and family; typically followed by a huge party to celebrate the milestone.
I’d compare the party thrown to a medium-sized wedding. Once can expect a large hall to be rented, a spread of food that can only be described as a feast, and entertainment to encourage games and dancing. The gifts brought for the child tend to be extremely generous. [My husband used the cash received at his Bar Mitzvah to purchase his first car a few years later.]
In liu of a huge party, some families choose to bring their child to Israel for a celebratory vacation to see the Wailing Wall and other historical sites to bring the true meaning of the Bar Mitzvah into perspective.
Often the family provides the child with a symbolic piece of jewelery such a Star-of-David necklace or ring or other traditional heirloom for them to cherish as recognition marking this rite-of-passage.
However celebrated, the importance of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah rarely goes without a memorable celebration.