Wake

(1 syl.).

To keep vigils. (Anglo-Saxon, waeccan.) A vigil celebrated with junketing and dancing.

“It may, therefore, be permitted them [the Irish] on the dedication day, or other solemn days of martyrs, to make them bowers about the churches, and refresh themselves, feasting together after a good religious sort; killing their oxen now to the praise of God and increase of charity, which they were wont before to sacrifice to the devil.” —Gregory the great to Melitus [Melitus was an abbot who came over with St. Augustine].

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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