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Ethiopia celebrates New Year amid pandemic

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New Year celebrations

Ethiopia celebrated its 2013 New Year on Friday.

The East African country uses its own unique calendar that counts seven to eight years behind the Gregorian calendar.

At Bole Medhane Alem Church in Addis Ababa, the holiday was celebrated in a slightly subdued manner, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The 2012 Ethiopian Calendar is a year where we went through a lot," Aba Emkulu Yiheyis, Ethiopian Orthodox Priest, said.

"There was a big punishment as a result of God's wrath, but it was not as big as we thought it would be, because of God's Will, it was easier and we are here now."

"We were largely protected from going through the horror we saw elsewhere."

The New Year falls almost in the middle of September, on the 11th, or on the 12th during a leap year.

At Atikilt Tera, a large vegetable market, crowds were going about despite the coronavirus pandemic.

"As for me, what we are seeing here is very puzzling," Yohannes Adane, a market customer, said.

"I say this because the virus is spreading and its victims are piling up. Death of people is increasing. But around this area protections against the disease are low. I advise for people to be very careful, and to keep their distances. But as you can see people are acting as if there is no coronavirus."

Ethiopia has been relatively shielded in the pandemic, reporting less than 63,000 coronavirus cases and 974 deaths.