Baisakhi is celebrated as the harvest festival in the farming communities of Punjab and Haryana. Since it falls in the middle of April (April 13), it marks the harvest of Rabi crops. Farmers enjoy the fruits of their whole year's hard work on this festival. There is a deep history attached to this festival. This festival is also celebrated as the Sikh New Year. After the death of Guru Teg Bahadur, his son-Guru Gobind Singh became the next guru of the Sikhs. He wanted to instill courage and will for sacrifice in his community. So, he called up a meeting on Baisakhi Day congregation of Sikhs (March 30, 1699).
When thousands of people assembled for his blessings, he came out of his tent with a sword and asked the people to sacrifice their lives. One man emerged form the public and followed Guru to his tent. Guru came out of the tent after few minutes with blood on his sword. Like this, he took five men with him. And the fifth time, he came out with all five of them. He declared them the four khalsas of the Sikh community and he bowed down before them. The first thing that all five of them did was the adoption of a new surname Singh which means Lion and gave the women the surname Kaur which means princess thus giving an equal status to them as well. In this khalsas community, guru and his disciples are considered equal.
Now also several fairs are organized on this day in Punjab. The popular folk dances of Punjab- Bhangra and Gidda become the major attractions in these fairs. The atmosphere becomes totally of enjoyment and merry making.
Astrologically, Baisakhi comes on the day when transiting Sun marks the Vernal Equinox. In Sanskrit, it is called Vasant Sampaat. According to the cycle of Sun, it would generally come on 13th April every year but every 36 years (due to leap years and changes in the cycle) it falls on 14th April. This is when Shishir Ritu is over and the month of Vaishakh begins.
Harvesting begins with Sun's entry in Aries. Sun's journey through Aries to Pisces is as if beginning of a journey to end of a journey. This is why, this festival is the last chance for all farmers to enjoy and relax down and begin the hard work after harvesting. Like Sun's entry in Capricorn is celebrated as Makar Sankranti, Baisakhi is celebrated as Mesha Sankranti.
All four cardinal signs i.e. Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn bring in change of season. Out of these four, Aries Equinox or Mesha Sampaat is very important because it marks the beginning of altogether a new cycle of seasons, which holds utmost importance for farmers. When any seed that was sown in the fast gets ripen, it is to be harvested and best sale is also expected out of the same. Which else can be the best time than the beginning of new Solar Year?
Astrologically, one can also decide to plant a tree or sow the seed and harvest it later based on Moon's quarter. As per Ganesh's view, the best time to sow the seeds is when Moon is in first quarter, specifically fixed signs, for steady growth or in Fruitful signs Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces. If Moon is not falling in these fruitful signs, one can go for Moon in Taurus, which is a semi fruitful sign.
As the Moon light increases, progress will improve. In the last quarter of Moon, one should harvest the ripen fields or pull the weeds. If harvesting is done when Moon is in Aries, Gemini, Leo, Virgo, Sagittarius or Aquarius, it is best because these all are barren signs.
Bhavesh N. Pattni