Louisiana culture has always set itself apart from the rest of the country. From crawfish boils to Mardi Gras, French history combined with deep-rooted southern traditions make Louisiana one of the most interesting of the 50 states.

The Daily Reveille lists the top 5 things you’ll only find in Louisiana during the month of February.

1. King cakes

King cakes are a classic Louisiana tradition during the Mardi Gras season. Thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870, king cakes have become a delicacy.

The oval-shaped dessert is a cross between a coffee cake and a French pastry. It is decorated in the traditional, symbolic Mardi Gras colors of purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power.

Each cake has a small plastic baby hidden in it — but be careful: Tradition states that whoever finds the baby must provide the next cake.

2. Mardi Gras beads

Whether they’re hanging around someone’s neck or draped across the branches of a tree, Mardi Gras beads can be found nearly everywhere in Louisiana during February.

Beads, like king cakes, are usually purple, green and gold and are thrown during Mardi Gras parades or worn in celebration from parades of years past.

3. Flamingos in yards

Flamingos are the symbol of one of Baton Rouge’s oldest and quirkiest neighborhoods: Spanish Town.

Not to be overlooked during Mardi Gras season, Spanish Town residents long ago adopted the tradition of wearing pink throughout February, as opposed to purple, green and gold, and decorating their yards with plastic pink flamingos.

They also host their own parade in which participants are encouraged to wear as much pink as possible.

4. Crawfish

Although crawfish season doesn’t technically start until the beginning of March, many Louisianians are so eager to get the boils started that crawfish can be found in most restaurants throughout February and sometimes even as early as January.

Crawfish boils are a social event for many southerners, but Louisiana shows a dedication to mudbugs unlike anywhere else.

5. Shorts

Louisiana is known for its erratic weather, so to see University students parading around campus in shorts comes as no surprise.

A little extra summertime is always good, even if it comes in the middle of winter.

Whether you’re a born-and-raised Louisianian and completely understand, or you’re just visiting and think everyone here has lost their minds, these are just a few of the things that make Louisiana home. Our state is known for its uniqueness, eccentricity and excitement, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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