E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Wake (1 syl.).
To keep vigils. (Anglo-Saxon, wæccan.) 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].