Often translated as “son of the commandment” in Hebrew and Aramaic since “bar” is “son” in Aramaic and “mitzvah” is “commandment” in both Hebrew and Aramaic. [“Bat” is daughter in Hebrew and Aramaic.] [However, a more accurate translation of bar/bat mitzvah is “subject to the commandments.”]
This is a milestone in Judaism in which a person is no longer a child in the eyes of Jewish law and is now responsible for his or her own actions spiritually, ethically and morally. A boy automatically reaches the milestone at age 13, while a girl reaches it at age 12 (bat mitzvah). No ceremony is required to mark the passage, although religious ceremonies and receptions are commonplace.
[Technically, the term refers to the child who is coming of age, and it is strictly correct to refer to someone as “becoming a bar (or bat) mitzvah.” However, the term is commonly used to refer to the coming-of-age ceremony itself, and people often talk about “having a bar mitzvah” or “going to a bar mitzvah.”]