Traditional designation of a practitioner of classical polytheisms. The early Christians often used the term to refer to non-Christians who worshiped multiple deities. Christian missionaries frequently sought to stamp out pagan practices by building churches on the sites of pagan shrines or by associating Christian holidays with pagan rituals (e.g., linking Christmas with the celebration of the winter solstice). The term pagan was also used to refer to non-Christian philosophers, and in the 20th century it was used to identify members of certain new religious movements. SeeNeo-paganism.