In this article we stack up top 10 largest peaceful human gathering on the planet.
What seems from this list is that Faith, love & respect are perhaps the three most powerful keywords which resonate across billions of people across the globe. As expected all of them are from the Asian continent, thanks to the high population density.
10. Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – (London, UK -1953)
Size – 3 million
Image credit The Guardian
Queen Elizabeth II coronation ceremony took place in Westminster Abbey in 1953 in front of 8000 guests from across the world. This included prime ministers, ministers from all commonwealth countries. The event was extensively covered by BBC which made elaborate arrangements to broadcast the ceremony live. The streets of London swarmed up with over 3 million Brits from all parts of the country eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of the queen. This makes into our list as the 10th largest peaceful human gathering on the planet.
9. Benazir Bhutto return after exile (Lahore, Pakistan – 1986)
Size: – 3 million
Image Credit Wikipedia.org
Political stability has been a big question for this country which has seen multiple military coups since independence. Numerous political leaders including former prime ministers of Pakistan have on and off imposed self exile on them basis the situation in the country. Back in the 80’s Benazir had imposed a self exile post a military coup and returned on April 10, 1986. In her book “Daughter of the East” Benazir mentions that the love of the Pakistani people was palpable as approximately 1 million people had gathered at the airport to welcome her. This gradually swelled over to 3 million by the time she drove down to Minar-i-Pakistan. What was a 15 minute drive from the airport to Minar-i-Pakistan took 10 hours. Till date it is the largest peaceful human gathering witnessed in Pakistan.
8. Hajj (Mecca, Saudi Arabia – 2012)
Size: – 3.16 million
Image credit Wikipedia.org
Hajj is the largest peaceful human gathering of Muslims in the world. Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and each and every Muslim needs to do Hajj in his/her lifetime should his physical and financial capability allow. The ritual is very powerful and reminds that one day each of us irrespective whether we are rich or poor, powerful or weak has to face God on the day of judgement. Every year millions of people visit Mecca for Hajj. Elaborate crowd management measures are deployed to ensure minimal loss of life and ensure safety for one and all. Saudi Arabia through a press release claimed that over 3.16 million people had visited Mecca for Hajj in 2012 making it the 7th largest peaceful human gathering.
7. Funeral of Umm Kulthum, (Cairo, Egypt – 1975)
Size: – 4 million
Umm Kulthum was an Arabian classical singer one of the most followed singer & actress between the year 1930-1975. Not only was she into singing but also into films as lead actress. Such was the charm of Umm that even the royal family used to invite her for private concerts and at times also attended her public performances. Her song “Wallāhi Zamān, Yā Silāḥī” (“It has been Long time, O weapon of mine”) was also used as the national anthem of Egypt from 1960-1979. Her death on 3rd Feb, 1975 was a shock for the entire nation and over 4 million fans flocked the streets of Cairo to bid adieu to this “Star of the East” the largest peaceful human gathering witnessed in Egypt till date.
6. Rodrick Steward Concert – (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 1994)
Size: – 4.2 million
This best selling artist of all times made into the Guinness Book of world records through this concert on the New Year eve of 1994. Traditionally most of the stars book a large stadium for performances but Rod preferred to perform at the Copacabana Beach in an attempt to give back to his fans. This act amassed over 4.2 million people near the site making it not only the 7th largest peaceful human gathering of all times but also the largest free concert of all times.
5. World Youth Day – (Manila, Philippines – 1995)
Size: – 5 million
The 20th World Youth Day was hosted for the first time by any Asian country in 1995 at Manila, Philippines. The occasion also marked the visit of the then Pope John Paul II and additionally for the first time Catholic representative of all the Chinese communities met together at one place. Over 5 million youth turned out for the event which almost choked Manila to a standstill.
4. Funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini – (Tehran, Iran – 1989)
Size: – 7 million
Ayatollah Khomeini was a religious & political leader who shot to fame during the 1979 Iranian revolution which overthrew the Shah of Iran. It was during his regime that the infamous 444 day seize of the United States embassy at Tehran from 1979 till 1981 happened. It’s on this event the movie Argo is based upon. Khomeini was a powerful speaker and connected with his audience very well. The news of his death spread like a fire and the entire country plunged into grief and pain. For his funeral approximately 7 million people gathered along the road mourning his death and after lot of high drama his body finally put to rest.
3. Funeral of C.N Annadurai (Chennai, India 1969)
Size: – 15 million
C N Annadurai was the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu state of India. He is well known for his oratory skills which influences masses around his ideologies. In 1967 his party got a landslide victory and he became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. However, just 2 years in office and he died due to cancer. His funeral procession till date has the highest attendance of 15 million as registered in the Guinness Book of World records and also stands as the 3rd highest peaceful human gathering till date.
2. Arba’een (Karbala, Iraq)
Size: – 17 million
Arba’een is a religious occasion for Shia Muslims and is observed to mark respect and pay tribute to the martyred Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad in the Battle of Karbala. A yearly gathering this was banned for 30 straight years during the regime of Saddam Hussein from 1973 uptil 2003. Post the 2003 invasion of Iraq and execution of Saddam Hussein, this event again saw huge turnout of approximately 18 million people in April, 2003
1. Kumbh Mela (Allahabad, India – 2013)
Size: – 100 million
For this oldest religion on the planet, Kumbh Mela is of prime importance. Celebrated at a gap of every three years at rotation amongst the four places of Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik & Ujjain. This Hindu pilgrimage is all about emancipation and the 2013 Kumbh Mela saw a mass participation of over 100 million at Allahabad, India. The story of Kumbh goes back to thousands of years when both the God and Demons together churned out the sea to extract it true wealth. Amrit (Nectar) was one of the elements which provided immortality and became the bone of contention between the two parties and erupted in a war. It’s said that during this haste that drops of nectar from the Kumbha (pitcher) fell at the four places of Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik & Ujjain. It’s believed that anybody who takes a bath at these places during Kumbh attains liberation. With a turnout of 100 million it tops the list of largest peaceful human gathering on this planet.