Some historians believe Jesus might have been born in the autumn.
But in third-century Rome, the Christians were competing with other sects that had big winter solstice holidays.
The Christians were worried that they were losing converts to the jollier sects, so they adopted as much as they could from the other groups’ holidays into their Christmas celebrations:
the birth of a god from the sun-king religion, Mithraism; feasts and parades from the worshippers of Saturn, god of agriculture; and lights and wreaths from the cult of Bacchus, the wine god.
Some people suggest that Bacchus inspired even more among the Christians.
He was the son of a god and a mortal woman, had a halo, and his followers ate bread and wine to symbolize his body and blood, in fact, Bacchus’ blood was wine.
By celebrating Christ’s birth during other Roman holidays, the persecuted sect was less conspicuous and authorities were less alert.
Eventually the pagan traditions became associated with Christmas as the other sects were persecuted to extinction when the Christians took power in Rome.