Friday, November 11, 2016

Largest Gatherings in Human History

So many people celebrated the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs and their amazing victory over the Cleveland Indians. Not only was the series and Game 7 unbelievably entertaining but the Cubs broke a 108 year drought, it’s no surprise people are ready to party. Like all Pro-Sport Champions a parade was scheduled for November 4, 2016 throughout the streets of Chicago. This gathering turned out to be the 7th largest gathering of people in human history. That had me wondering, what are the other six?

1)      Kumbh Mela Pilgrimage, Allahabad, India on February 10, 2013 (30 Million) – Considered to be the greatest spiritual festival ever held in which Hindus come to bathe in a holy river. They believe that once one takes a bath in the holy river during Kumbh Mela their purification of sins or karma is increased. They are traditionally held in four major location every 12 years, one of them being Allahabad. In 2013 the festival in Allahabad was believed to have brought in nearly 120 million people over a month with February 10th to have had an estimated 30 million people. The following is a 60 minute video on this very event. (WARNING: male nudity).

2)      Arbaeen Pilgrimage, Karbala, Iraq on December 13, 2014 (17 Million) – A Shia Muslim event which commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn idn Ali, grandson of Muhammad. It is a pilgrimage on foot with some travelling as much as 300 miles. For years Saddam Hussain, dictator of Iraq, forbid the event to be celebrated so when his regime fell the Arbaeen Pilgrimage was started again in 2003, even being televised worldwide as a celebration of their new found freedom. Although every year the event is one of the largest gatherings it was especially so in 2014 because of eased visa movement in Iran. Article on the Pilgrimage

3)      C.N. Annadurai Funeral, Chennai, India on February 3, 1969 (15 Million) – Also known as Anna, which means elder brother in Tamil, was a leader and champion of the people of Tamil Nadu a very populist and southern state of India. We gained attention in the political arena due to his excellent writing, speaking and debating skills in both Tamil Language as well as English. Annadurai worked his way up the political ladder in Tamil Nadu and in 1967 we became Chief Minister of the state. Sadly within 2 years he developed cancer, even coming to the United States for treatment. In February 1969 he died, caused by his use of tobacco. The streets of Chennai were packed with people paying their respects to the one of their most revered politicians.  His funeral still holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest attended funeral in history.

4)      Funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini, Tehran, Iran on June 11, 1989 (10 Milllion) – Ayatollah Khomeini led the Iranian Revolution in 1979, founded the Islamic Republic of Iran and became Supreme Leader until his death in 1989. Khomeini was very outspoken about democracy and the United States, saying democracy was a kin to prostitution and the United States was the “Great Satan.” Within Iran he was treated with god-like status where even to this day one can be punished for speaking against him. Khomeini died as a result of five heart attacks over a ten day period. Nearly one-sixth of the population poured into the streets of Tehran to see the 20 mile procession. The heat was so unbearable for the people that fire trucks were seen spraying water on the crowds. This along with the extreme pain of losing their leader led to chaos in the crowds. When his body was flown in by helicopter to the gravesite the people’s grief seemed to overwhelm them, grabbing for his body and attempting to tear his shrouds off. After all was said and done, 10 people were trampled to death, 400 with serious injuries, and thousands more were treated as a result.

5)      Pope Francis visit to the Philippines, Manila, Philippines on January 18, 2015 (6 Million) – In the Philippines, 80% of the population consider themselves devoutly Catholic. His visit to the country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Pope Francis was rounding out his visit to the Philippines with a mass and despite the rain throughout the day it didn’t stop anyone from coming out to see their holy father.

6)      World Youth Day, Manila, Philippines on January 15, 1995 (5 Million) – We are back in Manila for number six. Exactly 20 years early Pope John Paul II visited Manila for World Youth Day. Celebrating a mass on the last day the crowds started to grow around Luneta Park. Some people even admitted that there was no chance they would be able to physically see the pope but being this close was important because they could feel his presence.

7)      Chicago Cubs World Series Parade, Chicago, Illinois on November 4, 2016 – Typically you would think an outdoor event in Chicago in November wouldn’t get a lot of people out. However the weather was nice and this is the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years. It was something special to celebrate. People lined the streets for the parade route as well as in Grant Park where the rally took place. As early as 4 am people were piling into the city. No crowds like this have ever been seen in the Western Hemisphere. 

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