From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Observance \Ob*serv"ance\, n. [F. observance, L. observantia.
   See Observant.]
   1. The act or practice of observing or noticing with
      attention; a heeding or keeping with care; performance; --
      usually with a sense of strictness and fidelity; as, the
      observance of the Sabbath is general; the strict
      observance of duties.
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            It is a custom
            More honored in the breach than the observance.
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   2. An act, ceremony, or rite, as of worship or respect;
      especially, a customary act or service of attention; a
      form; a practice; a rite; a custom.
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            At dances
            These young folk kept their observances. --Chaucer.
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            Use all the observance of civility.   --Shak.
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            Some represent to themselves the whole of religion
            as consisting in a few easy observances. --Rogers.
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            O I that wasted time to tend upon her,
            To compass her with sweet observances! --Tennyson.
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   3. Servile attention; sycophancy. [Obs.]
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            Salads and flesh, such as their haste could get,
            Served with observance.               --Chapman.
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            This is not atheism,
            But court observance.                 --Beau. & Fl.
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   Syn: Observance, Observation. These words are
        discriminated by the two distinct senses of observe. To
        observe means (1) to keep strictly; as, to observe a
        fast day, and hence, observance denotes the keeping or
        heeding with strictness; (2) to consider attentively, or
        to remark; and hence, observation denotes either the act
        of observing, or some remark made as the result thereof.
        We do not say the observation of Sunday, though the word
        was formerly so used. The Pharisees were curious in
        external observances; the astronomers are curious in
        celestial observations.
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              Love rigid honesty,
              And strict observance of impartial laws.
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