Sep 15, 1997 - 10:05 -
I have a question:
Thanks for your question, Lauren.
A Bat Mitzvah (literally "daughter of commandment", but better understood as "Woman of Duty") is an adult female Jew under Jewish Law. Under ordinary circumstances, the age of legal majority for women is 12. In addition, "Bat Mitzvah" is colloquially used to refer to the public celebration of the attainment of legal majority, involving the community and family.
There is no difference between the priviledges and responsibilities of a Bat Mitzvah who celebrated when she became (halachically) responsible for the mitzvot and one who did not.
In recent times, some adults who did not celebrate at age twelve choose to make a festivity with their community at a later time, but there is no change of status actually happenning.
Nevertheless, if it marks the completion of a program of Torah study, that is always cause for celebration.