Already have an account?
Get back to the

Old Wives’ Tales or Reality? 7 Ways to Make the Most Out of the Summer Solstice

Superstitions and tales thought to improve your life, fortunes and ward off evil spirits

Old wives’ tales may appeal to the superstitious among us, but when the summer solstice rolls around, they can provide a window into what’s next. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun is at its greatest strength and highest point in the sky. It is the official beginning of summer and marks the longest day – and shortest night – of the year. Observed by cultures around the world perhaps as far back as the stone ages, it typically takes place sometime between June 20 and the 22, and Midsummer, as it’s known, is celebrated with cultural and religious festivals. It’s also associated with more than a few old wives’ tales and superstitions. These tales were often used to hand down “knowledge” between generations. Here, a few old wives’ tales you can practice during this year’s solstice.

7 old wives’ tales for the summer solstice

1. Rolling in dew during the summer solstice cures skin ailments

A woman removes a clay face mask from her face using two, small, reusable yellow sponges.

An old Icelandic wives’ tale said that rolling in the morning dew of the summer solstice could cure or provide immunity from a whole host of skin ailments and blemishes, including eczema, freckles, chapping and more. And in England and Ireland, women even collected morning dew to use on their skin. It’s no wonder there are facial skin products named after it!

2. Old wives’ tale: Burning fires during summer solstice guarantees a good summer crop

wives tales summer solstice: Garden center worker in a flower greenhouse. Horizontal shot

Related to the timing of crops, Midsummer Eve was celebrated in many cultures – and especially by the Pagans – with the burning of bonfires. In some cultures, it was thought that burning fires increased the sun’s strength, therefore ensuring healthy crops. In Pagan cultures, jumping over one of those bonfires was also thought to keep demons away and predict the height of crops. And once the ashes from the bonfire had cooled, they could be used to both protect you from misfortune and spread over your garden to guarantee a good crop. And there may be some truth to using ashes on crops. It turns out that the potassium and lime present in wood ash are both useful in growing healthy crops.

3. Using plants harvested during summer solstice improves fertility and heals ailments

Cropped shot of a woman waiting for the results of a pregnancy test

In ancient cultures, mistletoe was used for its healing properties as well as to restore fertility. The Ancient Greeks used it to heal illnesses and thought it could help people live longer, while the Celtic Druids believed that it could restore fertility. It frequently grew on oaks, and mistletoe harvested from an oak during summer solstice was thought to be the most powerful of all. Other plants with healing properties associated with summer solstice include St. John’s Wort, lavender, mugwort, chamomile and others. Druid priests thought these plants were at their most potent during this time and year and would gather and dry them for use at this time.

4. Old wives’ tale: Sleeping with these flowers during summer solstice helps you find your future husband

Wedding ring, couple commitment and hands during love event, start of bride and groom marriage and celebration together at reception. Man and woman in happy and trust union at ceremony in nature (wives tales summer solstice )

In Estonia’s summer solstice tradition, finding nine different types of flowers means you’ll dream of your future spouse. Girls needed to make a bouquet of the flowers and then sleep with them under their pillow in order to know the identity of the man they would marry. Of course, you don’t need to be Estonian to practice this one!

5. Write a wish on this summer solstice wood and it will come true

Mature woman holding dandelion near water

In ancient Druid culture, the beech tree symbolized knowledge and was considered the sacred wood of the summer solstice. One old wives’ tale said that if one wrote a wish on a beech twig and buried it, the wish would come true as the beech twig decayed.

6. Old wives’ tale: Leaving offerings to Vesta on summer solstice brings blessings for you and your family

wives tales summer solstice: Family looking up at the sky on the rainbow beach

Ancient Romans held Vestalia a few days before the summer solstice. During this time, they would leave offerings to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, home life and family, in order to secure blessings for their families. Typical offerings included baked cakes and flowers. The summer solstice was Christianized as St. John’s Day and St. John’s Eve, and in Medieval times it was believed that sleeping with St. John’s Wort under one’s pillow on St. John’s Eve would bless that person for the upcoming year.

7. Making summer solstice wreath wards off evil spirits

Hispanic woman standing on beach

In Scandinavian countries and in other places, vines and flowers were collected and woven into wreaths most typically worn on the head in order to ward off evil spirits. Shields or crowns made of aspen were also thought to protect against evil. And St. John’s Wort — called chase devil — was worn to ward off evil spirits as well. Today, it’s used by some for its medicinal properties.

See this YouTube video on how to create your own solstice wreath:

For all things summer solstice, click here!

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.