Recently, I have been invited to many bat mitzvahs (for girls) and bar mitzvahs (for boys). I've probably been invited to at least ten now, from kids from my school. A few of them I don't even know. Although I have been invited to ten bat mitzvahs and bar mitzvahs, I've only gone to one bat mitzvah so far. I have yet to see what happens at a bar mitzvah. None of the people in my family have ever gone to a bat mitzvah or a bar mitzvah before in their life. So you might imagine, it was quite the experience. The service is about two hours, with prayers and songs. They praise anything you can imagine; food (challah bread, wine), candles, etc.
It was quite entertaining to see my friend up there singing and holding a candle that was on fire, slowly melting and getting more and more warped. I was very happy to experience the Jewish tradition for the first time, although to sing and praise for two hours got a bit tiring after a while. To the point where the grown man in the pew in front of me took off his shoes and started laughing silently to himself.
The party is a completely different experience. They go all out, with DJs, music, colorful laser lights, entertainers, chocolate fountains, candy bars, dance floors, fog makers, and photo booths. They had a challah bread as long as a full sized bed that was on the table. It's a pity that we didn't get to eat it.
My family and I thought it was a bit extravagant to spend so much time, effort and money on this party. But then again, it is the big 13. Although, coming from a Chinese family, we just get a red envelope with some cash in it.We quickly stopped thinking that the bat mitzvahs were that ridiculous when we found out how much the kids make. My friend got at least $5,000. Although, she has to donate some of it to different charities, that's still a lot of mullah. My cousin and I even considered converting for a little while dreaming that we'd make that much money. I must say, the party was very fun though, although I don't like dancing for five hours. I think I'll have to get used to more parties, going to a school that is 75% Jewish.