An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or to a divinity; the term is usually restricted to Christian examples. It is given in fulfillment of a vow (hence the Latin term, short for ex voto suscepto, “from the vow made”) or in gratitude or devotion. Ex-votos are placed in a church or chapel where the worshiper seeks grace or wishes to give thanks.
The destinations of pilgrimages often include shrines decorated with ex-votos.
Ex-votos can take a wide variety of forms.
They are not only intended for the helping figure, but also as a testimony to later visitors of the received help.
As such they may include texts explaining a miracle attributed to the helper, or symbols such as a painted or modeled reproduction of a miraculously healed body part, or a directly related item such as a crutch given by a person formerly lame. There are places where a very old tradition of depositing ex-votos existed, such as Abydos in ancient Egypt.