Your office doesn’t have to be anywhere near the South for you to celebrate Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.” It’s traditionally seen as a way to eat a lot of bad food before you start fasting for Lent, but it’s also a handy excuse to party in general before Ash Wednesday, which begins the day after Mardi Gras.

An office party won’t be as hedonistic as the stuff you see in the French Quarter, of course, but you can still have a great time with your colleagues. Read on for more reasons to celebrate Mardi Gras at work.

The food is delicious

Any list of tips for organizing a Mardi Gras office party has to start with the food. Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole influences are strongly felt in the food served in The Pelican State, and Mardi Gras is a perfect time to encourage your coworkers to grab some spices and get to cooking. Gumbo is a classic Mardi Gras recipe, and you can make it with chicken and sausage the night before the party, then refrigerate it until you and your coworkers are ready to chow down. If you have access to fresh seafood, then you can substitute that instead of chicken.

Red beans and rice is another authentic Louisiana dish that adds a real kick to the proceedings. To cook it, you only need one pot and one skillet, so you won’t have to get a lot of dishes dirty for this one. It’s often served with sausage, but there are meat-free versions available if you work at an office with a lot of vegetarians.

It’s a break from winter

It may feel odd to throw an office Mardi Gras party if you live in a northern climate, but that’s actually even more reason to immerse yourself in the culture of Louisiana. By February, everyone is sick of winter. They audibly groan everytime they check their weather app and see that snow is in the forecast again. In some East Coast cities, February is the snowiest month of the year, which doesn’t help one bit with those winter blues.

Buying party favors and serving up Cajun food is a great way to break up all that cold, dreary monotony that comes with late winter. Encourage your coworkers to wear beads in their favorite color, and participate in fun office-appropriate activities like trivia games.

It’s better than Valentine’s Day

Mardi Gras falls on a different day every year, although it’s usually in February. It’s often just around Valentine’s Day, which provides the perfect excuse to ignore the latter holiday in the office. Sure, love is grand and all, but February 14 is a hard day for both single people and those in relationships. Single people feel pressured to put on a happy face and pretend like everything is great, while coupled people feel compelled to get each other extravagant gifts and make lavish declarations of love on social media.

A holiday like Mardi Gras is more inclusive. You can wear a pink dress to a Mardi Gras party simply because you like the color, not because it’s the color of romance. It’s much less fraught overall than Valentine’s Day. Mardi Gras may have more personal significance to you if you’re Catholic, but it’s by no means a requirement. Anyone can enjoy Fat Tuesday regardless of religion. The spirit of Mardi Gras isn’t about excluding anyone based on their relationship status, but about welcoming anyone who wants to cut loose.