|1.||a purposeful watch maintained, esp at night, to guard, observe, pray, etc|
|2.||the period of such a watch|
|3.||RC Church, Church of England the eve of certain major festivals, formerly observed as a night spent in prayer: often marked by fasting and abstinence and a special Mass and divine office|
|4.||a period of sleeplessness; insomnia|
|[C13: from Old French vigile, from Medieval Latin vigilia watch preceding a religious festival, from Latin: vigilance, from vigil alert, from vigēre to be lively]|
watch or vigil held over the body of a dead person before burial and sometimes accompanied by festivity; also, in England, a vigil kept in commemoration of the dedication of the parish church. The latter type of wake consisted of an all-night service of prayer and meditation in the church. These services, officially termed Vigiliae by the church, appear to have existed from the earliest days of Anglo-Saxon Christianity. Each parish kept the morrow of its vigil as a holiday. Wakes soon degenerated into fairs; people from neighbouring parishes journeyed over to join in the merrymaking, and the revelry and drunkenness became a scandal. The days usually chosen for church dedications being Sundays and saints' days, the abuse seemed all the more scandalous. In 1445 Henry VI attempted to suppress markets and fairs on Sundays and holy days
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