The Bear Went Over the Mountain (song)

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"The Bear Went Over the Mountain" is a popular children's song often sung to the tune of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow". The song (as well as "We'll all go down to Rowser", which is sung to the same tune) has been used in play party games.[1] The public domain lyrics are of unknown origin.

Bing Crosby included the song in a medley on his album 101 Gang Songs (1961).

Possible origin[edit]

Deitsch folklorist Don Yoder postulates that the song may have its origins in Germanic traditions similar to Grundsaudaag, or Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day is known to have its roots in the behavior of badgers in Germany. In some German-speaking areas, however, the foxes or bears were seen as the weather prognosticators. When the behavior of the bear was considered, the belief was that the bear would come out of his lair to check whether he could see "over the mountain." If the weather was clear, the bear would put an end to hibernation and demolish his lair. If it rained or snowed, however, the bear would return to his lair for six more weeks.[2]


  1. ^ American Folklore Society (1920). The Journal of American Folk-lore. vol. 55. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, and Co. p. 91.
  2. ^ Yoder, Don (2003). Groundhog Day. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. pp. 52–53. ISBN 0-8117-0029-1.

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