The customs and beliefs of European peasants represented a more archaic state of culture than that documented in the mythology of classic Greece. It is true that most of these rural European populations have been Christianized for over a thousand years. But they succeeded in incorporating into their Christianity a considerable part of their pre-Christian religious heritage which was of immemorial antiquity. It would be wrong to suppose that for this reason European peasants are not Christians.
We must recognize that their religion still retains a cosmic structure that has been almost entirely lost in the experience of urban Christians. We may speak of a primordial, ahistorical Christianity; becoming Christians, the European cultivators incorporated into their new faith the cosmic religion that they had preserved from prehistoric times.
~Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane
Featured image: Bauernhof by Johann Ludwig Ernst Morgenstern, 1794