Largest Human Gatherings Ever Recorded

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50. President Barack Obama’s Inaguration; Washington D.C.(2009) 1.8 Million

Obama_inaugural_address

The Inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. took place on 20 January 2009. The 1.8 million attendance set a record for the highest attendance of any event held in Washington D.C. Aside from the number of people that attended, it was also one of the most viewed and televised events of all time.

49. World Youth Day in Rome, Italy (2000) 2 Million

World-Youth-Day-2000

The World Youth Day 2000 was a week-long festival held from 15 August to the 20th of the same month. It was held in Rome and coincided with the Jubilee Year proclaimed by the Pope to celebrate 2000 years since the birth of Jesus Christ. About 157 countries were represented at the festival with the total attendance coming to 2 million people.

48. Bicentennial of the May Revolution; Buenos Aires, Argentina (2010) 2 Million

Argentina-Bicentennial-Fest

The May Revolution was a week-long series of events that kick-started the Argentine War of Independence. Since then, 25 May has been a patriotic date in Argentina. Regardless of the day of the week, it falls on; the holiday is celebrated. In 2010, the Bicentennial of the May Revolution was celebrated. It remains to date one of the biggest celebrations ever held in the country. People gathered in crowds at 9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires to attend several concerts and street parades in honor of the date. About 2 million folks from around the country joined the celebrations.

47. Hindu Women Gathered At the Attukal Temple; Kerala, India (2007) 2 Million

Attukal-Temple

In 2007, Hindu women gathered at the Attukal Temple in Kerala, India making it the largest gathering of women in history, overtaking the record set by the same festival. The Attukal Pongala is a 10-day festival held at the Attukal Temple in Kerala, India. The women gathered there to prepare a special meal of rice and offer it to the Goddess of the Temple. In 1997, 1.5 million women were gathered at the temple, but the 2 million attendance in 2007 set a new record.

46. Madrid Celebrating Spain National Football Team 2010 FIFA World Cup Win; Madrid, Spain (2010) 2 Million

2010-FIFA-World-Cup-Parade

Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet, and the pinnacle of a player’s career is winning the world cup. In 2010, after years of disappointments, the Spanish National Team took the World Cup tournament by storm. They played a beautiful style of football that made many fall in love all over again with the sport. They left opponents mesmerized and confused, sweeping past all before them with consummate ease. It was almost inevitable that they would end up champions. The team returned to football-crazy Spain as heroes. 2 million Spanish fans turned out to welcome the team home as they paraded the much-coveted trophy.

45. State funeral of the assassinated President of Bangladesh Ziaur Rahman; Dhaka, Bangladesh (1981) 2 Million

state-funeral-of-Bangladesh-Ziaur-Rahman

Ziaur Rahman was an army officer who turned statesman an in time became the President of Bangladesh on 21 April 1977. While serving as a Major, he announced Declaration of the Independence of Bangladesh. He was a beloved leader whose death by assassination shook the country. The love his countrymen bore for him was evident when, at his funeral, 2 million people turned up to pay their last respects. In 2004, he was ranked number 20 in BBC’s poll of the Greatest Bengali of All Time.

44. Philadelphia celebrating the 2008 World Series Champions the Philadelphia Phillies; Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia (2008) 2 Million

gathering

A Philadelphia sports team was once again the reason for a mammoth crowd: this time the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won their second World Series championships. This win was the first win since 1980 and was the first win for the city of Philadelphia since the 76ers won the 1983 NBA finals. The trophy was dedicated to the city and the fans. And on 31 October 2008, two million fans gathered at Broad Street to partake in the championship parade. Philadelphia sports fans have voted the win as the most significant moments in Philadelphia sports.

43. Stanley Cup parade for the 1974 Stanley Cup Champions the Philadelphia Flyers; Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia (1974) 2 Million

1974-Stanley-Cup-Parade

On May 1974, the Philadelphia Flyers won their very first championship. En route their victory, they defeated the then favorites the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. They thus became the first NHL expansion team to win the coveted trophy. This win came seven years after the franchise was created. The flyers boasted of a physical style of play, bullying their opponents into submission. To celebrate their unbelievable achievement, around 2 million fans stepped out to join in the Stanley Cup Parade.

42. Meeting in Fatih, İstanbul just a week before Turkish Local Elections; (2014) 2 Million

Turkish-Protest

In 2014, just a week before the general elections in Turkey, around 2 million people gathered in Fatih, Istanbul. The meeting was themed “Millions of Breaths, A Single Voice Against Terrorism.”

41. 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks Parade and Rally; Chicago, Illinois (2013) 2 Million

Chicago-Blackhawks-parade-2013

In 2013, the streets and the sidewalks of downtown Chicago were awash in a sea of red as 2 million people came out in all their red glory to enjoy and partake in the parade and rally. They came out to celebrate the Blackhawk’s Stanley Cup Championship, which was the teams’ third trophy in six seasons. Fans were especially thrilled with this win because it represented the first time the team won the Stanley’s Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938.

40. São Paulo Gay Pride Parade; São Paulo, Brazil (2006) 2.5 Million

São-Paulo-Gay-Pride-Parade-2006

The São Paulo Gay Pride Parade is an annual gay pride parade that takes place in Avenida Paulista in the city of Sao Paulo. It started in 1997, and in 2006, it recorded a record attendance of 2.5 million people. It takes place in June of every year and is meant to celebrate LGBT Pride Month. Of all the parades that occur in the Pride month, none is as big as the Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade. It is also the most significant event in the city after the Formula One event.

39. Art of Living Silver Jubilee Celebration; Bangalore, India (1981) 2.5 Million

events---silver-jubilee-celebration---bangalore

The Art of Living Foundation is a volunteer-based NGO that was founded in 1981 by Ravi Shankar. The movement has centers in over 150 countries around the globe. The goals of the campaign include seeking techniques and ways to eliminate stressful living and improve human development. In 1981, at Bangalore India, about 2.5 million people gathered to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the movement.

38. Annual Feast of the Black Nazarene; Manila, Philippines (2008) 2.6 Million

Annual-feast-of-the-Black-Nazarene-2008

On 9 January every year, plenty of people gather in Manila for a procession of the Black Nazarene, a life-sized image of a suffering Jesus carrying and struggling to carry the cross. The feast of the Black Nazarene is unmatched in enthusiasm and number of devotees across the Christian world. The attendance has increased over the years as more people travel to Manila to view the feats. In 2008, 2.6 million people gathered in Manila to observe the feast.

37. The Annual Hajj to Mecca; Saudi Arabia (2010) 2.8 Million

Hajj-to-Mecca-2010

The pilgrimage to Mecca for hajj is regarded as one of the pillars of Islam. Able-bodied Muslims with the means are mandated to perform hajj at least once in their lifetime, and in 2010, many people obeyed this command. Around 2.8 million people traveled to Mecca to perform this duty. The pilgrims move from Mecca to Mina to the Plain of Arafat to stand at the Mountain of Mercy. Then they walk back to Mina to throw stones at the temptations of Satan. These rituals date back to the 7th century and have been carried out annually.

36. Funeral of Pope John Paul II; Rome, Italy (2005) 2-4 Million

Funeral-of-Pope-John-Paul-II-

An emotional farewell to a pillar of the Roman Catholic empire, Pope John Paul II took place on 8 April 2005. He died on 2 April and was buried six days later. The funeral was a big event and ranks as one of the most attended funerals recorded in human history. No less than 2 million people attended, with some estimating the number to be as high as 4 million. Furthermore, his death brought together a record number of heads of state outside of the U.N. At least four queens, 70 presidents and P.M.s, and 14 leaders of various religions attended the funeral.

35. Boston Red Sox’s 2004 World Series Victory; Boston, Massachussets (2004) 3 Million

2004-World-Series-Parade

In October 2004, the Boston Red Sox finally won the World Series after 86 years of failure. They finally broke the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” that had plagued them since 1918. Ever since Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees, the Red Sox had never been able to win the World Series. The team’s General Manager told news agencies “This is for all of Red Sox Nation, past and present,” and fans took this to heart, turning out to celebrate with their team. A record attendance of 3 million people came out to celebrate with the team.

34. Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II; London, England (1953) 3 Million

Coronation-of-Queen-Elizabeth-II

Few things draw the attention of the general public as the crowning of a monarch, and who better to draw a record crowd of 3 million people than the Queen of England. In 1953, this record crowd came to watch the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London. On 2 June 1953, Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, was crowned Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom. Her coronation Westminster Abbey and the subsequent parade were the first of their kind to be televised.

33. Mass of World Youth Day 2013 on Copacabana Beach; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2013) 3 Million

Mass-of-World-Youth-Day-2013

The World Youth Day 2013, was the 14th World Youth Day. It is an international Catholic event that is focused on religious faith and the youth. It was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a result, the World Youth Day held there became the second World Youth Day to be held on the South American continent. It also held the record as the first World Youth Day to be held in a country whose primary language is Portuguese. Aside from all these records, one of the most impressive is the 3 million people that attended the Mass of World Youth Day on the Copacabana Beach.

32. The Welcome Benazir Bhutto on her Return from Exile; Lahore, Pakistan (1986) 3 Million

The-Welcome-Benazir-Bhutto-1987

Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who was the Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996. From 1984 to 1987, she was on a self-imposed exile from her motherland. She broke the record to be the first female to head a democratic government in a Muslim country. In 1986, she broke several records on her return to Pakistan. A record crowd of 3 million people waited in Lahore, Pakistan to welcome her back home. In fact, due to the crowds, her reception procession took eight hours to reach the public meeting venue.

31. Protesters rallied in Opposition to US Lead Invasion of Iraq in Largest Anti-War Rally; Rome, Italy (2003) 3 Million

largest-anti-war-rally-Rome

The largest anti-war rally occurred in Europe in 2003. Around 3 million protesters came out in force to protest against the US-led invasion of Iraq. Across Europe, millions partook in the peaceful demonstrations, but Rome was home to the most significant number of protesters.

30. Protest in the Circus Maximus; Rome, Italy (2003) 3 Million

Protest-in-the-Circus-Maximus-2003

The Circus Maximus in Rome is no stranger to crowds. The stadium, which translates to “greatest or largest circus,” was an ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium and entertainment venue. But we doubt it had ever seen the type of crowd that filled its seats in 2003. About 3 million people came out in protest that year. They came out protesting various things, but mainly protesting against the war. It was the biggest peaceful demonstration on the continent and left many awed.

29. Imam Reza Shrine on Ramadan gathered to break Fast; Iran (2013) 3 Million

Imam-Reza-shrine-Iran-on-Ramadan-2013

The Imam Reza Shrine in Iran is widely regarded as the heart of Shiite Iran and is the world’s largest mosque. No wonder then, that in 2013, the mosque opened its doors to 3 million people who came to break their fast on Ramadan. This made is the world’s largest recorded iftar.

28. Annual Feast of the Santo Niño de Cebú; Cebú City, Philippines (2014) 3.2 Million

Annual-feast-of-the-Santo-Niño-de-Cebú

The annual feast of the Santo Nini de Cebú is one of the most popular celebrations in the Philippines and is a mainstay of Catholic life in the country. It celebrates an image of Jesus depicted as a small boy and usually dressed as a king. Devotion to him is a major feast in the country. In 2014, around 3.2 million people attended the feast of Santo Niño de Cebú held in Cebú City. The image found here is the oldest and most popular in the country and is highly revered. The celebrations involve the Sinulog, a ritual dance performed before the statue.

27. Hajj to Mecca; Saudi Arabia (2012) 3.16 Million

Hajj-to-Mecca-2012

The pilgrimage to Mecca for hajj is regarded as one of the pillars of Islam. Able-bodied Muslims with the means are mandated to perform hajj at least once in their lifetime, and in 2012, many people obeyed this command. Around 3.16 million people traveled to Mecca to perform this duty. The pilgrims move from Mecca to Mina to the Plain of Arafat to stand at the Mountain of Mercy. Then they walk back to Mina to throw stones at the temptations of Satan. These rituals date back to the 7th century and have been carried out annually.

26. Jean-Michel Jarre Concert for the Celebration of the 850th birthday of Moscow; Russia (1997) 3.5 Million

Jean-Michel-Jarre-Concert-1997

In 1997, Jean-Michel’s concert was one of the most massive music concerts of all time. It came on the heels of his successful Oxygene Tour, but not even Jean-Michel could envisage the crowds waiting for him in Moscow. The show was to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the city. The attendance of the concert far outstripped expectations, with 3.5 million people coming to watch him. It was held on the highest hill in the town so that everyone in Moscow could get a glimpse of the laser and light show. An impressive feature of the concert was when he linked with the Russian space station to enable the astronauts also enjoys part of the show.

25. Funeral of Umm Kulthum; Cairo, Egypt (1975) 4 Million

Funeral-of-Umm-Kulthum-1975

Umm Kulthum was a famous Eygyptian singer recognized not only in her home country but also abroad. She plied her rade as a songwriter, singer, and a film actress from the 1920s down to the 1970s. Because of her iconic performances, she was dubbed the “Star of the East.” Her vocal ability was are trademark style and defining feature. Of all the singers in the Arab world during the 20th century, few can hold a candle to her influence. When this beloved icon died in 1975, 4 million people came to her funeral to grieve for the loss of this gem. Even the then president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser made an appearance at the funeral.

24. Rod Stewart Concert; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1994) 4.2 Million

Rod-Stewart-Concert-Rio-1994

On New Year’s Eve in 1994, there was a concert and a fireworks show set to boost tourism in Rio de Janeiro. Rod Stewart was invited to perform, and he ended up setting the record for the most significant concert attendance of all time, and one of the largest human gatherings in recorded history. While some folks say that the 4.2 million people registered weren’t all there for the show, there is no doubt they all were thrilled by enjoying a free concert from Rod Stewart. This record helped Rod gain worldwide recognition, and he has even gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

23. Makara Jyothi; Sabarimala, India (2007) 5 Million

Sabarimala

The Makara Jyothi is the most important event held in Sabarimala, India. The celebration and attendance reached a peak in 2007 when 5 million people gathered in Sabarimala. The Makara Jyothi is a fire lit up by men, but the Hindu belief is that it is a celestial light. Previous and subsequent gatherings at the site have been marked by tragedy. For example, in 1999, there was a human stampede that killed about 53 people. Also, in 2011, there was another stampede that killed 106 people.

22. Bishwa Ijtema; Dhaka, Bangladesh (2010) 5 Million

Bishwa-Ijtema-2010

Dhaka is a city in Bangladesh and 2010; the region welcomed about 5 million people. They had come for the Bishwa Ijtema. The Ijetma is an Islamic congregation organized by Islamic organizations in association with millions of Muslims. It plays an essential role in the lives of Muslims, and the 5 million people who participated in 2010 shows how popular it is.

21. Funeral of Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser; Cairo, Egypt (1970) 5 Million

Funeral-of-Egyptian-President-Gamel-Abdel-Nasser-1970

The Arab world was thrown into confusion and turmoil back in 1970 when the Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser suffered a heart attack and died. He was a pillar in the Arab world and was responsible for such events as the overthrow of the monarchy, and the introduction of several land reforms. He also was a staunch enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood, who had attempted to kill him. When he died in 1970, his funeral was one of the most attended of all time. Five million Egyptians are reported to have come out in full force to bid him farewell and mourn the loss of a father of the nation.

20. Death Anniversary of Imam Kazim at Al-Kadhimiya Mosque in Kadhimiyah; Baghdad, Iraq (2011) 5 Million

Death-anniversary-of-Imam-Kazim-2011

For millions of Muslims, Imam Kazim is one of the sterling examples and icons in Islam. He was the 7th Shiite Imam after his father, and the Sunnis regard him as a renowned scholar. He died 4 September 799, and his death anniversary is celebrated till today. His death anniversary is a Twelver Shia Muslim festival, and it occurs on the seventh day of the month of Rajab as found in the Islamic calendar. In 2011, at Al-Kadhimiya Mosque, Baghdad, Iraq, about five million people gathered to commemorate his death.

19. 2016 World Series Parade; Chicago, Illinois (2016) 5 Million

2016-World-Series-parade-2016

After a trophy-less drought of 108 years, the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series. This victory resulted in one of the largest gatherings of people in history. Given the devotion of the Cubs fans, as well as the long wait to win the coveted trophy, you’d expect epic celebrations. And that is precisely what was delivered. The celebrations were wild and as epic as Game 7 that clinched the title. Around 5 million people turned up for the celebration, and this made it one of the largest gatherings of all time in recorded history.

18. Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally; Istanbul, Turkey (2016) 5 Million

Democracy-and-Martyrs-Rally-2016

On 15 July 2016, a coup d’etat was attempted in Turkey by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces. However, this turned out unsuccessful. Under the auspices of Presidency, Istanbul Governorship and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in Yenikapi Square, the Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally was held on 7 August 2016. The rally was held in protest of the attempted coup. Part of those present at the rally included the president, he Parliamentary Spokesperson, and several party agents. It included anthems, prayers, and speeches.

17. World Youth Day; Manila, Philippines (1995) 5 Million

World-Youth-Day-1995

In 1995, 5 million people attended World Youth Day. The day was nestled as part of a Catholic youth festival that ran from 10 January to the 15th of the same month. Hosting the event in the Philippines made it the first time for an Asian country to host the event. What likely drew the mammoth crowd was the presence of Pope John Paul II. He presided over the event, and this visit was his second papal trip to the country. It was discovered that there was an assassination plot during the events; however, this was thwarted, and the would-be assassin fled to Pakistan.

16. Sha’ban; Karbala, Iraq (2012) 6 Million Est.

Shaban-2012-Gathering

Shaban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar and is referred to as the month of separation. In 2012, 6 million Muslims gathered in Karbala, Iraq to commemorate the month. The 15th night of Sha’ban is known as the “Night of Records.” It is an essential month for the Muslim faithfuls because it is the month before Ramadan. Hence, it is in Sha’ban that the first day of Ramadan fasting will be determined.

15. State Visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines; Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines (2015) 6-7 Million

Pope-Francis-in-the-Philippines

The Pope is one of the most influential figures in the world, followed by billions of people around the world. One of the best illustrations wielded by the Pope was the state visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines in 2015. Around 6 million to 7 million people gathered at Rizal Park, Manila to see him. The tour was held on the Feast of the Santo Nino, and to date, it remains the most massive papal crowd in history.

14. The honor of General Douglas MacArthur just 15 days after being relieved of duty by President Truman; New York City, New York (1951) 7.5 Million

Honor-of-General-Douglas-MacArthur-1951

Born on 26 January 1880, General Douglas MacArthur was a five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. During the 1930s, he became the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and during WWII, was a crucial figure in the victory achieved. He was relieved of duty in 1951 by President Truman to the general discontent of Americans. When he returned home on 20 April 1951, around 7.5 million people are estimated to have come out to honor him.

13. Martyrdom Anniversary of Imam Hussein; Karbala, Iraq (2015) 7-9 Million Est

Martyrdom-anniversary-of-Imam-Hussein-2015

In October 2015, around 7 million to 9 million people gathered in Karbala, Iraq to remember the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein. Shia Muslims mourn during the days leading up to the event. They pay their respects to Husayn (Hussein) whose sacrifices ensured the survival of Islam, and they also gather to show their loyalty and affection for the Imamate. Furthermore, many Christians and Sunnis can be found among those who gather to pay their respects.

12. Funeral of Ruhollah Khomeini; Tehran, Iran (1989) 10.2 Million

Funeral-of-Ruhollah-Khomeini-1989

Ruhollah Khomeini, who is better known in the Western world as Ayatollah Khomeini was an Iranian Shia Muslim religious leader, politician, revolutionary, and reportedly the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is also famous as the leader of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. On 3 June 1989, he died after he suffered five heart attacks in 10 days. His funeral is one of the largest of all time and one of the largest gatherings in history. About 10.2 million people attended the funeral, which is incredible because as at the time, that number was one-sixth of the total population of Iran.

11. Martyrdom Processions of Musa al-Kadhim; Kadhimiya, Baghdad, Iraq (2016) 12 Million Est.

Martyrdom-processions-of-Musa-al-Kadhim-2016

In 2016, 12 million Muslims converged on the capital of Iraq, Baghdad to remember the martyrdom anniversary of the 7th Shia Imam, Musa ibn Jafar al-Kazim. The ritual is a culmination of a week-long pilgrimage. The worshippers started from the southern side of Kadmiyah and trekked to the northern district of Kadhimiyah. During the event, as can be seen from the various photographs taken, the pilgrims carried a symbolic coffin of the late Imam. Despite the troubling nature of the region, hostilities were put aside to commemorate this anniversary.

10. Aalmi Ijtema Aurangabad; Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India (2018) 12.6 Million

Aalmi-Ijtema-Aurangabad-2018

Aurangabad is a city in Maharashtra India. Maharashtra is famous for the Taj Mahal, but in 2018, the region welcomed about 12.6 million people. They had come for the Aalmi Ijtema Aurangabad. The Ijetma is an Islamic congregation organized by Islamic organizations in association with millions of Muslims. It plays an essential role in the lives of Muslims, and the 12.6 million people who participated in 2018 shows how popular it is.

9. Funeral of C. N. Annadurai; Tamil Nadu, India (1969) 15 Million

Funeral-of-C.-N.-Annadurai-2001-Gathering

It might not have been the most publicized, or the most televised burial in history, but the funeral of C. N Annadurai is regarded as the largest funeral gathering of all time, and one of the largest human gatherings in history. C.N Annadurai was the former chief minister of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. The funeral was held in 1969, and it holds the Guinness World Record for the “most attended funeral.” Photos of the funeral procession can be seen to stretch as far as the eyes can see. Many Indians still revere him till today, and he is one of the most celebrated figures in Indian history.

8. Arba’een Pilgrimage; Karbala, Iraq (2013) 15-18 Million

Arbaeen-Pilgrimage-2013-Gathering

The Arba’een Pilgrimage held in 2013 loses out a spot to the 2001 Kumbh Mela by just around two million people. During this pilgrimage, abundant supplies of food, small hospitals, and even dentists are available for pilgrims, and they all work for free. The providers of these services view them as a holy work or religious duty. Furthermore, there are shoe-polish stations along the road to Karbala where the shoes of the pilgrims are kissed and polished in the hopes of attracting divine blessings.

7. Kumbh Mela; Allahabad, India (2001) 20 Million Est.

Kumbh-Mela-2001-Gathering

Wrestling a spot in the top 10 on this list is the Kumbh Mela held in 2001. In 2001, this event was participated in by around 20 million people. These gathered in Allahabad to bathe in the holy river following Hindu rites. People make the pilgrimage to this city for two main reasons; to observe the religious rituals, and to experience the secular events of the events. As a result, you might find non-Hindu folks among the crowds. The gathering is mainly divided into two groups: the Hindu holy men, referred to as Sadhus, and the pilgrims.

6. Arba’een Pilgrimage; Karbala, Iraq (2014) 20 Million Est.

Arbaeen-Pilgrimage-2014

Yes, it’s another Arba’een Pilgrimage that takes the sixth spot. This time, in 2015, an estimated 27 million people gathered in Karbala for the annual commemoration of the martyrdom of Hasayn ibn Ali, grandson of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad. According to reports, the atmosphere of the pilgrimage has been described as “one of intense loyalty and communal solidarity. People of different ages participate in this annual walk; from toddlers in prams to older people pushed around in wheelchairs.

5. Arba’een Pilgrimage; Karbala, Iraq (2015) 27 Million Est.

Arbaeen-Pilgrimage-2016

Is it any surprise that the Arba’een Pilgrimage also takes the fifth spot on this list of the largest human gatherings in history? It shouldn’t. In 2015, around 27 million people embarked on the pilgrimage to Karbala. The pilgrimage was marked by the long walk from Najaf or Basra to Karbala. Different people from different walks of life, personalities, ethnicity, and sects took this long, arduous walk. Furthermore, aside from the Shia Muslims, some Sunnis, Yazidis, Christians, and folks from other faiths also participated in the march. The saint Husayn ibn Ali, in whose honor the walk is held, is believed to be a symbol of universal freedom and compassion.

4. Arba’een Pilgrimage (2016): Karbala, Iraq 20-30 Million Est.

Arbaeen-Pilgrimage-2016-1

2016 marked the fourth-largest gathering of humans in recorded history. Around 20 to 30 million believers made their way to Karbala, where it is believed that the grandson of Prophet Mohammad, Husayn, along with his companions was martyred and beheaded by the army of Yazid I. The martyr Husayn is thought to rise above cultural boundaries and is regarded as a symbol of tolerance, compassion, and freedom. It has been described as “an overwhelmingly powerful display of Shia belief and solidarity,” and a large number of pilgrims indicates this.

3. Arba’een Pilgrimage; Karbala, Iraq (2018) 30 Million Est.

Arbaeen-Pilgrimage-2018

Held every year, the Arba’een Pilgrimage is reportedly the largest annual gathering of people. It is held every year in Karbala, Iraq. The pilgrimage to the site occurs after a 40-day mourning period that follows Ashura (the religious ritual for the remembrance of the martyrdom of the grandson of Prophet Mohammad). The pilgrims make the trip to the holy site on foot. In 2018, an estimated 30 million people made their way to Karbala, Iraq.

2. Kumbh Mela; Allahabad, India (2013) 30 Million Est.

Kumbh-Mela-2010-Gathering

The second-largest gathering in recorded history is also a Hindu gathering. In 2013, at Allahabad, India, about 30 million Hindus gathered together to bathe in the holy or sacred river. Kumbh Mela at Allahabad is celebrated approximately three years after Kumbh at Haridwar and three years before Kumbh at Nashik and Ujjain (both of which are observed in the same year or one year apart). As a result of a large number of congregants, the Kumbh Mela is heavily scrutinized, and a large chunk of money is dedicated to ensuring the safety of the pilgrims. In 2018, ISIS threatened to attack the pilgrims using a variety of methods, but fortunately, no such attack ensued.

1. Kumbh Mela; Haridwar, India (2010) 60-80 Million Est.

Kumbh-Mela-Gathering

The Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith that is held by Hindus around the globe. Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. Four fairs are recognized by Hindus around the world as the Kumbh Melas: the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela, the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha, and Ujjain Simhastha. The Kumbh Mela is renowned as the most significant religious gathering on earth, and in 2010 at Haridwar Kumbh Mela, an estimated 60-80 million believers gathered to bathe in a holy or sacred river in India.