“So this is something that we actually took from “Dora the Explorer” in my house. There is an episode, where, I think we were watching because it was when my brothers were younger and they would watch it. And my mom would watch with us. So we were watching one day, and I think they were making chocolate. Dora and her grandmother.
And so they sang the chocolate song.
‘Bate, bate, chocolatè
Mix that cho-co-late, chocolatè
Bate, bate, chocolatè!’
So we heard that, and I think maybe my mom had heard it before. Like I think it is a thing Mexican culture, I don’t know though. Because I remember once telling someone about it who was Mexican and he knew a version of it. But that was the first time me and my brothers heard it.
But anyways, so in the show they sang it to make chocolate. Like stir it together, or something. But for us, after that, my mom would rub our bellies when we had a stomach ache and sing it to us. She would like rub it in a circle, and after we would feel better.
So then when I would get stomach aches after I went to college, I would have my boyfriend, who is white, sing the song to me and rub my stomach. Which of course he then was mad and wanted me to do the same to him when he got stomach aches. So now whenever we’re piggies and eat too much, we rub eachother’s stomachs and sing the song. “Can you bate me?” It’s pretty gross.”
This is like a mix of folk music and folk medicine. There seems to be some Hispanic heritage or pride peeking its way into this tradition. Since Dora the Explorer is Hispanic, and she believes her mom may have known this song prior, it does feel grounded in the Hispanic culture.
It is also folk medicine in that she uses it specifically for relieving stomach aches, not for mixing chocolate like Dora does. A stomach ache is such a weird thing to cure; there are definitely some over the counter cures, but it does not surprise me that people would think of different ways to cure it. I like that she has now passed it down to her significant other. The song has taken on a whole new meaning than it was most likely originally intended for.
It is funny that this seems to be a pretty traditional song, a Google search comes with a bunch of variants (see below) that was repurposed for Dora the Explorer. It was also kind of gringo-fied, which is to say many of the other versions were more based in Spanish, but Dora seems to strip that out and replace it with English. It is an interesting, but somewhat predictable choice.
I found this other version of the “Bate” song here.