The original is in the Reinhart Foundation in Winterthur, Switzerland. The painting concentrates on the natural events of village life rather in winter than the religious theme of the adoration.
Indeed the adoration has been shifted from the centre of the painting to the left had edge where it is indistinctly depicted behind a curtain of falling snow.
It is possible that the painting is the first work in Europe to depict falling snow. Bruegel was born at a time of great change in Europe. Martin Luther had published his 95 thesis in 1517 starting the Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance was at its height in Italy.
Humanist ideas were influencing artists. Although he painted religious works, Bruegel is noted for his natural, unsentimental depictions of peasant village life.
He was known as Peasant Bruegel from his habit of dressing as a peasant so that he could sneak into taverns, weddings etc so as to be able to depict events accurately.
A number of other paintings by Bruegel are also concerned with the themes of the seasons and the adoration of the Kings. Such works relating to the adoration include the natural, in-idealised Adoration of the Kings, 1564; the Adoration of the Magi circa 1567, which shows further depictions of village life.
Bruegel was commissioned by a wealthy Antwerp patron, Niclaes Jonghelinck, in 1565 to paint a series of pictures depicting the months of the year. Of these only five survive. The most famous works on the theme of theme of the seasons include Summer and Winter Hunters in the Snow, and the Harvesters.