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Milagros are charms used for requests, for protection, and as a source of good luck. The word Milagro in Spanish means “miracle” or “surprise” and people in the past and present use them as symbols to wish others good luck, good health, and hope for the future.
There is no universal interpretation for the objects (symbols) depicted in Milagros, interpretations are based on how each individual uses of them. Legs and feet can mean that you are asking for healing from a specific condition in the legs like an injury or arthritis. A heart can be included for healing a heart condition or for help with a romance. Arms can symbolize the need for help with an arm injury or strength. A praying man or woman symbolizes religious devotion, prayer, or a saint. Men’s and woman’s heads might represent the mind or spirt, or healing for a headache. Cars might represent a request for safe travel. Dogs, as you might expect, can represent loyalty and protection. Body parts such as lungs, eyes, kidneys often represent a request for healing of a specific ailment in the body. Eyes represent the concept that someone from beyond the grave is watching you and protecting you from harm. Eyes can also symbolize creativity, intuition, and insight. The symbols that are used seem endless
In Mexico, Milagros are often accompanied by a manda. This is when a person asks a saint for a favor. To repay the favor he or she must make a pilgrimage to the shrine of the saint they prayed to and leave the Milagro there. This is a form of gratitude once the prayer was answered. Milagros are pinned on objects of devotion to that saint and sometimes an extra thank you is included on a piece of written paper.
Today, Milagros are more than just religious art. They have become symbols that are used to wish people a happy and healthy future. They remind us that it’s never too late to bring people special gifts of devotion and love.