Heathen originally described a person who lived on a heath, however the rise of christianity changed that. People who lived on heaths tended to be simple farmers and continued celebrating the harvest with bonfires and dances. There also tended to be more midwives in these areas, as doctors lived in cities and were not likely to be found in the country. Religious officials swept through the lands and took note of the continued practices of these Non-Christian customs. Attempting to spread their own beliefs they took the term heathen and made it their own, using it to describe a person who performed Non-Christian sanctified customs. Over the years the original definition was all but forgotten, and now heathen has become an everyday word for a person who does not act as a Christian or does not believe in Christianity.