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A Look at Some of the Largest Gatherings in History

Today is Global Meetings Industry Day (yes, there is a day for everything in today’s celebrate-something-every-day world). We thought putting forth a few of the largest global gatherings in history could bring some perspective for meeting planners across the world. Take a moment to think of the planning involved.

Funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran, 1989

It was estimated that 10 million Iranians came to Tehran to mourn the Ayatollah. The crowds were uncontrolled and people were killed during the event.

World Youth Day, 1995 More than five million people attended Pope John Paul II’s Sunday mass on January 15, 1995 – World Youth Day. Unable to get through the crowds, the Pope had to be flown in by helicopter.

Anti-War March, Rome, 2003 Estimated crowds of three million people plus marched in Rome in opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq. It is considered to be one of the largest anti-war marches in history.

Arbaeen Festival, Iraq, 2014 Up to 17 million people are thought to have made the pilgrimage to the 2014 ceremony of Arbaeen, which commemorates the death of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, Imam Hussain. The festival is held in the city of Karbala.

The Pope in the Philippines, 2015 The head of Manila’s planning agency said six million turned out to see the Pope in Manila, surpassing the previous world record for a papal gathering of five million.


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