In Ethiopia, things are a little different. The fact is that in my country, a year has 13 months. 12 months of 30 days + one month of a week. Due to this, we now live in 1996!
We also do not celebrate a New Year on 1 January because our New Year is celebrated in September. But, we do celebrate Christmas, but on January 7! It might seem confusing, but that is how we live in Ethiopia.
So, on January 7 I celebrated Christmas. Early in the morning I did a very tough hill training session and after taking a shower, I went to church (Orthodox Christian) with my wife Alem and my three daughters. Christmas is usually one big family-event. You visit friends and family and go from house to house. First we visited some friends, before coming home. From the moment we were home, we welcomed several other friends, neighbours and family members. As always, we ate 'injera' with 'wat' and vegetables. Injera is made from an Ethiopian cereal called 'Tef' and is eaten like a pancake. 'Wat' resembles a meat stew. You basically spread out a large thin pancake of injera and simply heap meat and vegetables on top of it. Then you tear off a piece of injera with your right hand and wrap it around the food served with it.
Later, at the beginning of the evening, my wife Alem did a traditional coffee ceremony in the living room. This is a sign of Ethiopian hospitality. First of all coffee beans are roasted in a pan. Next the beans are ground up with a pestle and mortar; the beans are then brewed up with water in a pan. When it's finally ready, you have great coffee!
Although, I did not celebrate New Year, I would like to use this opportunity to wish all my friends in athletics a very Happy New Year.
Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)
Double Olympic and former four-time World 10,000m champion