Traditions & NameDays

DANIEL, Holy Prophet, and the Three Holy Youths Ananias, Azarias, and Misael - December 17

Name day of everyone named Danail, Daniel, Daniela.

In Christian legends, St. Daniel was put in the pit where the lion, but instead of tearing him to pieces, the lion licked him with his tongue. The prophet Daniel symbolizes the personality of Christ disarming death and temptation. That day is celebrated by all pregnant women. They bake breads and give them out to the neighbors – that is supposed to make the year fertile and to assure them an easy delivery.

In the years following 600 B.C. Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians, the Temple built by Solomon was destroyed, and many of the Israelite people were led away into the Babylonian Captivity. Among the captives were also the illustrious youths Daniel, Ananias, Azarias and Misael.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon ordered that they be instructed in the Chaldean language and wisdom, and dressed them in finery. Handsome children of princely lineage were often chosen to serve as pages in the palace. For three years, they would be fed from food from the king's table. After this they would be allowed to stand before his throne. Daniel was renamed Baltasar, Ananias was called Shadrach, Misael was called Mishach, and Azarias was known as Abednego. But they, cleaving to their faith, disdained the extravagance of court, refusing to defile themselves by eating from the king's table and drinking his wine. They lived on vegetables and water.

The Lord granted them wisdom, and to St. Daniel the gift of insight and the interpretation of dreams. The holy Prophet Daniel, having preserved sacred faith in the one God and trusting in His almighty help, surpassed all the Chaldean astrologers and sorcerers in his wisdom, and was made a confidant to King Nebuchadnezzar.

Once, Nebuchadnezzar had a strange dream which terrified him, but upon awakening he forgot the details of the vision. The Babylonian wise men were unable to learn what the king had dreamt. Then the holy Prophet Daniel prayed to God, revealing not only the content of the dream, but also its prophetic significance. After this, the king elevated Daniel to be ruler of the province of Babylon.

During these times King Nebuchadnezzar ordered a huge statue to be made in his likeness. It was decreed that when people heard the sound of trumpets and other instruments, they should fall down and worship the golden idol. Because they refused to do this, the three holy youths Ananias, Azarias and Misael were cast into a fiery furnace. The flames shot out over the furnace 49 cubits, felling the Chaldeans standing about, but the holy youths walked in the midst of the flames, offering prayer and psalmody to the Lord.

The Angel of the Lord appeared in the furnace and cooled the flames, and the young men remained unharmed. This "Angel of Great Counsel," as he is called in iconography, is identified with the Son of God (Daniel 3:25, Isaiah 9:6). In the first Canon for the Nativity of the Lord (Ode 5), the Church sings: "Thou hast sent us Thine Angel of Great Counsel." The emperor, upon seeing this, commanded them to come out, and was converted to the true God.

In Christian legends Daniel was put in the pit where the lion, instead of tearing him to pieces, licked him with his tongue. He symbolizes the personality of Christ who disarmed death and temptation. The day is celebrated by all pregnant women. They bake breads and give them out to the neighbors for the year to be fertile and for them to give birth easily.
The nameday of Danail, Daniel, Daniela.