The Largest and Most Influential Gatherings the World has ever seen

The recent riots in the U.S. on Donald Trump winning the presidential elections showcased how a large gathering of people can wreak havoc if they wanted to. However, not all gatherings tend to turn out to be ugly. There have been some gatherings (and continue to be) that remain peaceful throughout without causing harm to human life or property. Here are some such gatherings that were and are considered the largest as well as the most peaceful.

Pope John Paul II’s Funeral

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A loved public figure, Pope John Paul II’s funeral brought about 4 million people in attendance from different parts of the world. Considered to be the largest single gathering of Christians till date, the funeral was also attended by influential political leaders and individuals from different religions.

Sabarimala Pilgrimage

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Being one of the most visited shrines worldwide, Sabarimala sees over 40 million devotees reach Lord Ayyappan’s ancient meditation place annually. Devotees throng the shrine and the temple atop a hill, with over 5 million in attendance on January 14, 2007.

Rod Stewart’s Concert

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The internationally acclaimed singer performed for a free music concert on Copacabana Beach on New Year’s Eve in 1994. News of his arrival spread like wildfire throughout the city, with over 4 million attending the concert, making it the largest gathering for a free music concert.

Red Guards’ Gathering

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Held in Beijing, China, this was a very popular event that triggered the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the country. The political gathering was held on August 18, 1966, and attracted over 11 million people who wanted to take part in the revolution.

Imam Hussein’s Shrine

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The shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq, is one of the most sacred places for Shia Muslims worldwide. It is visited by millions of people every year. However, the shrine attracted over 8 million Shia Muslims in 2009, making it the largest gathering of Muslims recorded till date.

N. Annadurai’s Funeral

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Fondly called as Anna by his followers and supporters, C. N. Annadurai was one of the most influential political leaders of South India.  As the founder of the first non-Congress government in Tamil Nadu, Anna was also hailed for his writing and public speaking skills. His funeral in 1969 was attended by over 15 million people, making it the largest gathering of people in history for a funeral. 

The world has seen plenty of large gatherings of people for myriad reasons including riots, funerals, and pilgrimages. These gatherings are proof that a large number of people can come together in one area without offending individual sentiments and values, spreading the message of peace throughout.

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