In Hindu homes, it is often said that Gods reside where women are respected, honored, and protected. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi lives in every home in the form of Griha-Lakshmi or the lady of the house.
'Griha' means home and Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth. Traditionally, the daughter-in-law of each home is considered as the Griha-Lakshmi. She changes the house to a home. She is the one who takes the family forward as her children are the next generation on the family tree.
The next generation is further influenced by her upbringing, character and nature. She is the symbol of family name, prestige, luck and fortune. Her presence fills the homes with joy, love and festivities.
In the Indian tradition when the daughter is born, she is referred to as Lakshmi. A house wife is called 'Srimati' and a respectable man is called 'Shri'. A constant reference to Goddess Lakshmi helps to invite more of her in the family.
When the daughter-in-law first comes to her husband's home, she enters the home in the evening. This symbolizes the entrance of Lakshmi, who is said to always come during the evening hours.
Next, the bride tosses a container full of rice with her first step across the threshold, in her husband's home and steps into a plate of red-dye. She then walks into the home leaving red foot prints behind her. This signifies the arrival of Lakshmi, good luck, good fortune into the home. Ladies sing and laugh as they escort their daughter-in-law in the home.
A reception is thrown for the new daughter-in-law to welcome her into her husband's social circle of friends and relatives. Further, everyone gets to know who the new Griha-Lakshmi is. All these traditions signify the entrance of Lakshmi into the home in the form of the 'bahu' or daughter-in-law.
Just like Lakshmi does not like to be tied down, homes where the women are happy and free to express themselves are joyous abodes.