Samhain 2023: Celebrate the Witch New Year with Rituals

Last Updated on October 21, 2023 by Eva Maria

As the crisp autumn breeze rustles through the leaves and the days grow shorter, we find ourselves on the brink of a most enchanting time of the year – Samhain 2023, the mystical and revered Samhain festival.

This ancient celebration, with its roots deeply intertwined in the fabric of history and folklore, beckons us to embrace the season of change, transformation, and spiritual connection.

In this captivating journey through the realms of witchcraft and magic, we’re about to unravel the secrets and unveil the wonders of Samhain Celtic New Year, delving into the very heart of its meaning and significance.

Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner of the craft or someone simply curious about the mystique of the Samhain holiday, this exploration promises to kindle your inner fire and ignite your curiosity.

So, gather around the virtual hearth as we embark on a spellbinding adventure to uncover the essence of Samhain 2023, the Samhain holiday, and the profound magic that lies within this enchanting festival.

Samhain 2023 pumpkin decoration

What is Samhain 2023?

Samhain is the third and final harvest festival of the year. It is a cross-quarter holiday between Mabon (Autumn Equinox) and Yule (Winter Solstice). In the northern hemisphere, Samhain is celebrated on the 31st of October, while in the southern hemisphere around May 1st

Astrologically Samhain falls between November 6-8, when the Sun is at 15 degrees of Scorpio. 

The name Samhain comes from the Irish words sam and fuin meaning “summer’s end”. Other names for this holiday are Samuin, Samhainn, Samain, Samhuinn, Sauin; also known as Hallowmas (Celtic/Scottish), November Eve, All Hallows’ Eve (Christian), Calan Gaeaf, the Witches’ New Year, Root Harvest, and Shadowfest.

Samhain 2023 Date

Samhain, pronounced “sow-in,” is celebrated on the night of October 31st and continues into November 1st.

This significant date marks the midpoint between the autumnal equinox (Mabon) and the winter solstice (Yule), making it a pivotal moment in the wheel of the year and a time when the veil between the physical world and the spirit realm is believed to be at its thinnest.

  • NORTHERN HEMISPHERE – October 30th – 31st
  • SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE – April 31st / May 1st

Samhain – Celtic New Year

Samhain, often referred to as the Celtic New Year, holds a special place in the hearts of practitioners of Celtic and Pagan traditions.

It is a time of both celebration and introspection, as it marks the end of one year and the beginning of another in the Celtic calendar.

As the leaves fall and nature undergoes its own cycle of transformation, Samhain invites us to reflect on the past, honor our ancestors, and set intentions for the future.

It’s a time to embrace the darkness and the mysteries of life, knowing that from them, new beginnings will eventually emerge.

The Samhain Celtic New Year embodies the cyclical nature of existence, where death and rebirth are intertwined, and where the past and future converge in the present moment.

Samhain 2023 decoration

Astrological Samhain 2023

Astrological Samhain 2023 falls between November 6th to 8th, aligning with the astrological placement of the Sun at 15 degrees of Scorpio.

Astrologically, Scorpio is associated with transformation, rebirth, and diving deep into the hidden realms of the soul. As Samhain 2023 ushers in this celestial event, the energies of Scorpio infuse the season with profound intensity and introspection.

This alignment encourages us to explore the depths of our own being, shedding old layers of the self like autumn leaves to reveal the true essence within. It’s a time when the boundaries between the physical and spiritual worlds blur even further, enhancing the magic and mysticism of the Samhain festival.

So, as the Sun reaches its zenith in Scorpio during Astrological Samhain 2023, we’re invited to embrace our inner alchemist and embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation, guided by the ancient rhythms of the universe.

Samhain Pronunciation

How to pronounce Samhain?

Samhain is pronounced as saa·wn and it comes from the Irish language. You can check the Samhain pronunciation in the video below.

Samhain 2023 Rituals and Magical Intentions

ancestry, banishing, beginnings, candle magic, darkness, death, divination, endings, faerie, harvest, honor, introspection, love, magick, past life, protection, psychic powers, rebirth, release, renewal, rest, return, sacrifice, spirit communication, the underworld, uncrossing (removing hexes), visions, wisdom 

Samhain 2023 Traditions and History

Samhain is the name of an ancient Irish-Celtic festival. Unfortunately, nowadays we know very little about its original celebrations. In myths and legends, it was the time of magick, witchcraft, fairies, and spirits.

Back in the day, people feared the roaming spirits and fairies. To protect themselves they lit bonfires and carved turnips (Jack-o’-Lanterns) to confuse the spirits. 

It is believed that Samhain falls on during the liminal time of the year when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest. This allows spirit entities from other realms to freely roam around the Earth.

Samhain 2023 ancestral magic

Our ancestors used the time of Samhain to collect the last crops, slaughter the animals, and move cattle from the mountains into protected pastures for the winter. They also made sure to preserve as many foods as they could for the dark days ahead.

In the 17th century, practicing love divination during Samhain became popular. Young women wanted to reveal their true love’s name and practice things such as bobbing for apples or throwing nuts into the hearth fire.

Samhain marks the end of the Light Half of the Celtic Year and begins the Dark Half – The Gaulish month of Samonios (November).

Jack o Lantern is the most recognized symbol of Samhain. It comes from many folk stories about a lost soul roaming around the world and carrying a carved pumpkin (turnip) lantern. Originally the carved turnips were used to ward off the evil spirits during the night of Samhain. 

Aos sí – Irish Spirits and Fairies are known to roam freely during Samhain night. The tradition was to offer food and drink to please the spirits and lit bonfires for protection. Additionally, people wore costumes to imitate and disguise themselves from the Aos Sí or other spirits. 

Samhain 2023 bonfire

Samhain Rituals and Customs

  • Dressing up in scary costumes is another common tradition of the Samhain celebration. Originally, people dressed up in order to protect themselves from evil spirits, witches, and ghosts. 
  • Gathering with your friends or family to tell the terrifying stories of ghosts and haunted places.
  • Apple Bobbing is one of the oldest traditions of Samhain. In this game, the large basin is filled with water and the participants have to catch a floating apple with their mouth. It can be a fun addition to your Samhain rituals, especially if you practice it with a group of friends or children.
Samhain 2023 apple bobbing
  • As Samhain is the time for endings, you can write your fears, limiting beliefs, or unhealthy habits on a piece of paper and burn it in order to release them.
  • Setting up New Witch’s Year resolutions. Samhain is an amazing time to reflect on our year so far and bring forth some new goals for our practice. This can be a simple addition to other Samhain Rituals that focus on luck and prosperity for the months ahead.
  • Practicing protective magic. You can check out this simple Protection Spell Jar recipe and incorporate making it into your Samhain Rituals.
  • Having a memorial ritual for loved ones who have passed away is another common type of Samhain celebration. It can be in the form of a Dumb (Silent) Supper, where you can leave an empty setting at the table. You can also honor the dead by lighting candles, having their pictures or personal items on an altar, and leaving the food or drink as an offering.
Samhain 2023 candle decoration
  • Going trick-or-treating! Even though this seems like a modern Halloween celebration, you can also try to incorporate this in your Samhain rituals. There have been records of various similar activities throughout the world and why not have a little bit of fun with dressing up and visiting your neighbors?
  • Connecting with the spirit world. Samhain festival is an amazing time to communicate with your ancestors, loved ones who passed away, or any deities or spirits that you feel called to work with. You might want to offer them some prayers or candles, maybe a feast together. It is also a remarkable holiday for starting to work with fairies and mythical creatures from the spiritual realm.
  • Samhain holiday night is perfect for divination! You can add it to your other Samhain rituals (especially the ones that are celebrating the New Witches’ Year), and have a tarot or oracle spread to see what messages you need to hear right now. Or… if you feel adventurous, you might want to try a new form of divination, such as scrying or tasseomancy (tea leaf reading).
  • Make a real autumn feast with Samhain foods! Incorporating vegetables and fruit such as pumpkins, gourds, squashes, potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, apples, and pomegranates. Some of the most common dishes for Samhain are pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup. Apple dishes and gingerbread would also suit well for Samhain rituals.
Samhain 2023 pumpkin soup

Samhain 2023 How to Celebrate

Samhain is a great time to celebrate the harvest and all that has been accomplished in the fall season. Here are some tips on how to celebrate Samhain 2023 the right way!

Many people celebrate Samhain by wearing costumes and going out to parties. Others choose to spend the evening in quiet contemplation or by honoring their ancestors. Whatever you do, don’t forget to take some time to enjoy yourself!

Samhain is the time to let go of things that no longer serve us. We should purge our homes of any items that are no longer used or that we no longer enjoy. This includes clothes, books, furniture, and decorations. It’s also a good time to clean out our closets and drawers, removing anything that’s outdated or irrelevant.

It is also a time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the coming year. There are many rituals and customs that can be done during this time, such as lighting bonfires, eating pumpkin seeds, and wearing costumes.

Traditionally, people would go door-to-door to offer food and drink to the spirits of the dead and make offerings of money, food, and other items.

Samhain Symbols

While there are many different interpretations of what Samhain Symbols mean, some of the more common ones include:

  • Cauldron, representing warmth and safety, abundance (food and drink), and transformation
  • Cross, representing the passage of life and death 
  • The wheel of fortune is used to represent the idea of chance,
  • Apples represent the idea of fertility.
  • Crossroads represent the idea of meeting different paths in life
  • The candle represents the idea of hope
  • Animals – bat, cat, cattle, dog, owl, raven, spider
  • Besom – symbolizing purification and clearing old energies
  • Costumes and Masks – different personas and deceiving spirits
  • Carved Pumpkins and Lanterns – warding off evil and providing light
  • Skulls – symbols of death and honoring ancestors
Samhain symbols

Wheel of the Year and Sabbats books:

Disclaimer: The links below are affiliate links that allow me to earn a small commission from purchases you make at no extra cost to you.

✦ “Witch’s Wheel of the Year” Jason Mankey
✦ “The Modern witchcraft guide to the wheel of the year” Judy Ann Nock
✦ “The Hearth Witch’s Year” Anna Franklin
✦ “Year of the Witch” Temperance Alden
 “Mabon: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Autumn Equinox” Diana Rajchel  

What are your Samhain rituals?

I am very curious to hear the way that you celebrate Samhain! What are the symbols that come to your mind when you think of this festival? Are you looking to make any spells or crafts? 

Let me know in the comments! Let’s see what we’re all up to!

* I know some of you might be in the Southern Hemisphere and celebrate Beltane at the moment. You can read my blog post about Beltane here!

Samhain Traditions and History

Samhain Printable Bundle

For only $4.99 you can get your copy of a 10-pages Bundle with Samhain correspondences, herbs, crystals, crafts, oil blend, altar ideas, and a page about the Samhain Deities and Spirits. 

Eva Maria
Eva Maria

Eclectic Witch with tons of interests (Buddhism, Yoga, Ayurveda, Alchemy, Naturopathy, Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Climbing, Traveling, Jewelry making, Crocheting, Arts and Crafts and all sorts of readings).

Creator at @witchjournaling and host of the


  1. Merry meet Eva Maria,
    I have been practicing for many decades and your article is one of the very best I have read about Samhain. Thank you for taking your time to share this information all across Mother Earth.
    I have posted a short segment on my website(I will not name it as I feel that would be disrespectful to you and your hard work) the link back to your website so my readers can finish learning from you through this article is at the top of my blog post.
    As the other Sabbats come about may I again use your article on them on my website?
    Until we meet again blessed be,
    Lady Beltane Sage

    • Merry Meet Lady Beltane Sage! It is a great honor to have my work featured on your website. It means a lot to me that you find these articles helpful and wish to share them with your readers. Please feel free to post the short segments as the Sabbats come. Blessed be! Eva Maria

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