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List of largest gatherings in history

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Title: List of largest gatherings in history  
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Subject: Batu Caves, Fair, World Youth Day, World Youth Day 1995, Mela
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List of largest gatherings in history

This is a list of the largest historic peaceful gatherings of people in one place for a single event. For brevity, only gatherings in excess of 1 million are recorded.

Over ten million

Kumbh Mela

An estimated 30 million people visited the Maha Kumbh Mela at Allahabad (Prayag) in India, on 10 February 2013 and an estimated 100 million have been expected to visit the place during the festival spread over 55 days.[1] According to estimates, around 70 million people participated in the 45-day Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag in 2007.[2] The Purna Kumbh Mela held in 2001 in Prayag was estimated to have attracted between 30 and 70 million people.[3]

Shrine of Hussein ibn Ali

Funeral of Annadurai

An estimated 15 million people attended the funeral of C. N. Annadurai in Tamil Nadu, India in 1969.[18]

Over five million

Two to five million

One to two million

  • Security officials estimated that 1.8 million people attended the inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. on 20 January 2009.[71] Other estimates vary significantly, ranging as low as 750,000 people.[72]
  • An estimated 1.6 million people (30 percent of Lebanon's 4 million population) gathered in Beirut, Lebanon on 14 March 2005 to demand an end to the Syrian military presence in Lebanon. This event is known as the Cedar Revolution.[73]
  • The second largest Tabligh Jamaat gathering takes place in Raiwind, Pakistan which is attended by approximately 1.5 million people.[74] Since 2011 Pakistan divided the Ijtema into two parts and total 1 million People attend the Ijtema.[75][76]
  • An estimated 1.5 million people were at 2013's San Francisco Pride,[77] in the wake of the Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8.[78]
  • An estimated 1.5 million people attended the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia, PA 2 July 2005.[79]
  • An estimated 1.5 million people claimed the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, 11 September 2012. More info: 2012 Catalan independence demonstration. [80]
  • An estimated 1.25 million people attended a Papal mass given by Pope John Paul II in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland on 29 September 1979. The estimated attendance was about one third of the population of Ireland gathered in one expansive public area.[81]
  • An estimated crowd of 750 thousand to 1.5 million people gathered in Central Park in New York City on 22 April 1990 to celebrate Earth Day.[82][83]


The methods of determining how many people are at an event vary in accuracy. Without knowing the method used and its error potential, estimates can be very inaccurate.Practically, for a gathering in an open space,five adults with normal body growth can stand per square metre with minimum movability. For more than four adults per square metre with the crowd moving without previously practised parade-discipline,there is always an ample chance of a stampede. An estimate made by an untrained observer of a large crowd is potentially the least accurate, as there is no methodological basis for the estimate, and it amounts to no more than a guess. Better is an estimate made by a trained observer. These are usually based on scientific principles and experience. Trained observers usually work for governmental or academic organizations.

Scientific analysis of photographs, video images, or both is usually considered to be even better. Based on the quality of the image, it is possible to do a physical head count or to estimate attendance based on the density of people within similar areas. This permits the estimation of people over large areas or where parts of the image are obscured. An extensive discussion of how images were used to estimate the number of attendees at the Million Man March can be found at the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University's website.[97]

The most accurate number is achieved when an actual count of ticket stubs, gate counts, or both is used. This system does have limitations as well. If the number is based on the number of tickets distributed or sold, people who get tickets and do not attend will affect the results. Similarly, people who get into the event without an actual ticket may not be counted. If the count is based on the number of stubs collected, those who get in without tickets will again not be counted, and there is no way to account for people leaving early, or leaving and re-entering using a second ticket.


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