In April, people go to visit the graves of their relatives and leave fruit, buns, lit cigarettes and flowers on the gravestone for them, as well as fake (death) money, chopsticks, incense and small cups of alcohol.
Then they take half of it home with them to eat themselves, and tell themselves it gives them long life. And fair enough. I don't think the dead are interested in keeping any of it, thanks anyway.
Still, it is sad to see people missing their dead relatives. I don't think its fear of death that drives such activities as much as just missing someone you were close to.
In recent years people have also been bringing cardboard effigies of fridges and cars etc. to give to their loved ones.
Small children and babies are not brought to the cemetary for fear that in their innocence they may be able to see the dead.
THE food in northern china is the dumpling (or Jiaozi). They are delicious and you can put pretty much anything inside. One of the first things that I had to do on arriving here was learn how to make Jiaozi. It's a very sociable activity - the whole family chips in with rolling or stuffing!
This is a picture of me learning to make Jiaozi with some of the teachers
(I have to admit that I usually buy them ready-made as it's a bit long to make!)