Anex-votois avotive offeringto asaintor to adivinity. It is given in fulfillment of a vow (hence theLatinterm, short forex voto suscepto, "from the vow made") or in gratitude or devotion. Ex-votos are placed in achurchorchapelwhere the worshiper seeks grace or wishes to give thanks. The destinations ofpilgrimagesoften includeshrinesdecorated 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