Vigils is a term for night prayer
Night Hours
The Night Hours are the fixed times of prayer in the Divine Office of the Roman Catholic Church, that take place after sunset and before sunrise. In the Latin Rite, the main Office is traditionally Matins, said in the early hours of the morning, and which is joined to the office of Lauds, which is...

 in ancient Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. See Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

, Compline
Compline is the final church service of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours. The English word Compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. The word was first used in this sense about the beginning of the 6th century by St...

, Nocturns
Nocturns are divisions of Matins, the night office of the Christian Liturgy of the Hours. A nocturn consists of psalms with antiphons followed by three lessons, which are taken either from scripture or from the writings of the Church Fathers. The office of Matins is composed of one to three nocturns...

, Matins
Matins is the early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies of the canonical hours. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe morning services.The name "Matins" originally referred to the morning office also...

, and Lauds
Lauds is a divine office that takes place in the early morning hours and is one of the two major hours in the Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, it forms part of the Office of Matins...

  for more information. A Vigil
A vigil is a period of purposeful sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, or an observance...

 is a night spent in prayer.

A Roman Catholic Mass that counts liturgically for a Sunday or Holy Day but which takes place the previous evening is often mistakenly called a Vigil Mass. But it is more accurately termed an "anticipated Mass," because a Vigil is actually the whole day prior to certain major feasts, which acts as sort of Western version of the forefeast. And such Vigils (such as Christmas Eve) have their own proper Mass theoretically said that morning.
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