It is a well-known fact that the Tallit is worn by adult males during prayer services during the week, Shabbat and on Holidays and that the Tallit Katan is worn for the entire day. However, there are other occasions in which the Tallit is worn, such as during a wedding or Bris. What follows is an overview of the major lifecycle events during which a Tallit is worn.
While the regular Ashkenaz tradition is to not wear a Tallit at a wedding, is an accepted practice amongst the German, Sephardic and Yemenite communities. However, many Ashkenazi Jews will use the Tallit as the Chuppah itself. It should be noted that the only person who wears the Tallit is the groom and it is only for the duration of the Chuppah – the wedding ceremony. The Tallit is usually put on once the groom has stepped under the Chuppah. According to Sephardic tradition, the groom will also cover his new wife with the Tallit as well.
Because a circumcision – a Bris or Brit Milah – generally is performed immediately following the Morning Prayer service known as Shacharit, the accepted tradition is that the father of the baby and the Mohel – the surgeon performing the Bris – wear their Tallitot and Tefillin. In some communities, the Sandak – the person who holds the baby during the Brit – wears a Tallit as well.
There are a wide range of customs regarding a Tallit and the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. However, the overarching custom is that the Bar Mitzvah boy wears a Tallit, minimally during the time he reads from the Torah and Haftara. According to Ashkenazi tradition, a boy does not begin wearing a Tallit on a regular basis until he is married. Therefore, he only wears the Tallit when he is called to the Torah. According to the German, Sephardic and Yemenite traditions, the Bar Mitzvah boy actually begins wearing his Tallit at a much younger age, but the Bar Mitzvah is the first time he wears the Tallit after making a blessing.
There are other occasions during which a Tallit is worn as well. In many non-orthodox communities, a woman will begin wearing a Tallit after her Bat Mitzvah, in the same manner that men begin and boys begin wearing Tallitot after a Bar Mitzvah.
Another lifecycle event when the Tallit is worn is burial – the person who has passed away is buried in his Tallit. It should be noted that during a funeral, Tzitzit and Tallitot are not worn in an obvious manner.