Theresa May has ordered all Christmas and New Year immigrants to attend wassailing lessons so they can "fit in" with the newly discovered post Thatcher communities.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary "waes hael" is the Middle English (and hence post-Norman) spelling parallel to OE "wes hal". The American Heritage Dictionary, fourth edition, gives Old Norse "ves heill" as the source of Middle English "waeshaeil". The correct response to the toast is Drinc hæl.
Acknowledgement to Wikipedia for the following in quotes:
"In recent times, the toast has come to be synonymous with Christmas, but since Christianity gradually replaced the indigenous Anglo-Saxon religion around the 7th and 8th centuries, there is no evidence that the traditional ceremony of wassailing is Christian in origin.
Traditionally, the wassail is celebrated on Twelfth Night (mostly regarded as January 6, but more properly the evening of January 5). However most people insist on wassailing on 'Old Twelvey Night' (January 17) as that would have been the correct date before the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752."
UKIP, thought to be trying hard to look like an electable political party, said this morning, "Leave them alone. All immigrants are wonderful."
So now we know.