Milagros ("milagro" means "miracle" in Spanish) are religious charms that are prevalent throughout Mexico and are traditionally used to request a "miracle" or thank the deities for miracles that have already happened. One can find milagros depicting legs, arms, breast, eyes, cows, pigs, hearts, lungs--just about anything that one would need help with or for which one may have received help. Mexicans purchase milagros that are meaningful to them, attach them to altars, shrines, and sacred objects found in places of worship, and pray for help with illnesses, relationships, animals or just about everything. Remember 99% of Mexico is Catholic. Milagros can be purchased in churches or from street vendors outside of the church.
Milagros come in lots of shapes and sizes and are made from many different materials. They might be made of gold, silver, tin, lead, wood, or even wax. One of the most common shapes is the heart, like the one in the second photo. These particular milagros are made of pot metal and are lovely and quite large (approximately 4" tall). Smaller lead milagros have been used by an artisan to decorate the wooden hearts shown in the top photograph. Every wooden heart contains a different assortment of milagros.