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Meanings of moonrise on lakes, canals, peaks

THE moon, a beloved subject of ancient Chinese poets, often shines with different significance in different surroundings.

When it is appreciated in watery settings, it conveys the sense of easily broken illusions as the beautiful moon is reflected on rippling, changing water. When it is seen from the mountains, hanging alone and unmatched in the sky, it can make one feel lonely.

Shanghai Daily has picked three nearby areas for moon appreciation: on the bridge in Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province, on a boat in Wuzhen water town in Zhejiang Province, and on the hills of the Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province.

The Slender West Lake and its ancient 24 Bridge are among the best-known sites in Yangzhou. The bridge is 24 meters long, 24 meters wide, with 24 steps and 24 supports. It is a special feeling to stand on the bridge where so many poets, rulers and ordinary people also came to appreciate the harvest moon hanging up there, and its glorious reflection in the water.

One can visit dozens of places named for moon appreciation: the Bright Moon Bridge, the Moon Following Tower and the Moon Waiting Cabin, among others.

It is less than three hours' drive from Shanghai.

One can also see the moon and its reflection in Wuzhen, only one hour's drive from Shanghai. Instead of standing on a bridge, it's better to take a black-awning boat along the river to chase the moon's reflection or be followed by it.

Along the way on both banks there are narrow stone paths, wooden cabins and old vendors, reminding one of traditional Chinese water towns.

Various kinds of small bridges are all decorated with lanterns in interesting shapes. The reflections from the lamps look like other small moons and stars in the water, shimmering like the moon up above.

Ancient Chinese literati always considered mountains a great place to appreciate sunrise as the rays of light suddenly bring all the rocks, rivers, lakes, falls and trees into sharp focus, awakening the entire sleeping mounting and its vivid landscape.

The Yellow Mountain is one of their favorites.

Yet, few of them wrote about viewing the moon, which sheds a different light on the same scenes, shining through the black night of the mountain to reveal a mysterious maze.

With the natural sounds of flowing water, trees moving in the wind and the occasional bird call, the moon turns Yellow Mountain into a more mystical place.

It's quite a bit further than the other to spots, up to five hours' drive, so moon watchers should leave early to appreciate the moonrise.


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