Definition and background:
A Middle English term derived from the Old English "waes haeil ", or "be thou well". The Wassail is a song sung at Christmas time recalling the tradition of "wassailing" , which is a tradition of going about the town from house to house in the evening at Christmas time, singing at the doors of all the neighbors, wishing them a good New Year and asking them for a treat (usually the treat was a spiced drink, also known as a "wassail" ). This tradition is something of a mix between the modern traditions of caroling and trick-or-treating.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary