The Immunity Idol is a totem that symbolizes Tribal Immunity, and is awarded to the winning tribe(s) of an Immunity Challenge. Not to be confused with the Hidden Immunity Idol or the Immunity Necklace, the Immunity Idol serves as a trophy-of-sorts that grants an entire tribe exemption from Tribal Council, thus avoiding elimination.
When tribes convene at an Immunity Challenge, the winning team passes back the Immunity Idol to the host, who keeps hold of it until a winning team has been confirmed.
The idol is different every season and reflects the local culture or motif theme of the season. In seasons with more than two initial tribes, the Immunity Idol is separated into multiple pieces, to be shared by multiple tribes. In the event when the multiple tribes are spread into two new tribes, the tribe that wins the challenge would obtain the complete idol. The two exceptions were on Survivor: Philippines and Survivor: Cagayan, where two separate tribal Immunity Idols were up for grabs.
The Immunity Idol could sometimes be representative of a local deity and not just a cultural object. For example, in Survivor: Thailand, the Immunity Idol is a statue of Buddha and in Survivor: Blood vs. Water it is Cai-Shen, the god of wealth in Chinese mythology.
Out of sheer joy, Rory Freeman accidentally broke the spear-like Immunity Idol after violently sticking it on the ground when his tribe got back to camp after winning an Immunity Challenge. However, the idol wasn't repaired and is inconsequential, as the said challenge was the last tribal Immunity Challenge before the merge.
CBS gave the Survivor: China Immunity Idol to celebrity Neil Patrick Harris, an avid reality TV fan, as a gift for his 37th birthday.