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Oldest Woman in the World Celebrates 117th Birthday

Lifestyle | By  | 
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nytimes.com

nytimes.com

Tuesday was a big day for Emma Morano. Of course, she’s had 116 days in her life just like it. On Tuesday, Morano, the oldest woman in the world, celebrated her 117th birthday. She is officially the only person still alive who was born in the 1800s, being born on November 29, 1899 in Italy.

Morano spent the day in the apartment she hasn’t left in more than a decade in the northern Italy town of Verbania. She was joined by her two nieces, caregivers, and her long-time doctor.

During the celebration, Morano blew out three candles (two 1’s and a 7) that sat stop her cake. Then, eager to get started eating it, she joked, “I hope I don’t have to cut it!”

Part of Morano’s birthday part was broadcast on Italian television. She also received a letter from Italy’s President and opened several gifts, including a package of her favorite cookies. Following an afternoon nap, Morano had another party that included another cake and a visit from her town’s mayor.

Morano and her physician, Dr. Carlo Bava, credit genetics for her being able to live this long. She is the oldest of eight siblings, one of whom lived past 100, with another one coming close. Her mother also lived to be 91.

Diet has also played a role in Morano’s longevity, even though Dr. Bava says it’s not the most balanced diet. Morano typically eats two raw eggs a day, as well as a small portion of steak, a couple biscuits, an occasional banana, and applesauce that her nieces prepare for her.

Some could also attribute Morano’s age to her living the single life, so to speak. She left her husband in 1938, the same year she lost her six-month old child. She never re-married after what she calls an unhealthy marriage that she was coerced into.

From that failed marriage, Morano developed the spirit to live for 117 years and counting. Dr. Bava says she remains in good health and still has a sharp memory, adding, “I think she’s happy to have made it to this birthday.”

Happy birthday, Emma. Here’s to many more.

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