Stefania Rings Out At Polish Border As Eurovision 2022 Winners Are Honored On Their Way Home

If you’re anything like me, you look forward to the annual Eurovision Song Contest as much as you do Christmas or New Year’s. For multitudes of years it’s been the event that everyone was talking about: for months leading up to it, debating who’d win, and then afterwards, debating the win and next year’s stage.

This year, the 66th Eurovision was won by Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra. As much of a mixed reaction as that brought on, it cannot be denied that the win meant a lot to Ukrainians amidst a relentless war. Their return home was greeted with many fans congratulating the band on their victory. So what’s next for them? Let’s dive in and see.

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Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra was named the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 with their song Stefania

Image credits: kalush.official

Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra took an incredible victory at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Stefania. The song is a tribute to frontman Oleh Psiuk’s mother. Sung in Ukrainian, it fused rap with traditional folk music.

Although it was 4th after the national jury vote, it rose to the top spot thanks to a record number of 439 viewers’ votes. They ended the victor’s performance with a call: “Save Mariupol, Save Ukraine and Help Azovstal.”

The victors returned home to Ukraine, but not before being welcomed warmly at the Polish border by soldiers and fans alike

Image credits: sashkatab

The group returned home on Monday and were greeted at the Polish border by servicemen and women, as well as a group of fans, showing their support. Oleh was presented with a bouquet of yellow and blue flowers, in honor of Ukraine’s flag, and reunited with his girlfriend before they sang an impromptu version of Stefania.

“Eurovision is a very important thing, especially this year. But the lives of so many people – this is much more important,” Oleh said at the border. The group plans to sell the Eurovision trophy to raise money for Ukraine’s war effort, hoping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“There are people who are ready to donate. This is simply to motivate them a bit more – they may own this trophy. Someone might think it is cool to have a Eurovision 2022 winner’s statuette at home,” Oleh said.

The gathered crowd sung Stefania together, with dancing and cheering surrounding the triumphant moment

Image credits: eurovision

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered his congratulations Saturday night, stating in an Instagram post, “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe! Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And I believe – not the last. We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt!”

Ukrainians watching on television had also hailed the win, the song resonating with the people of a war-torn country. So it’s not surprising that people were overjoyed with the win.

One of the residents of the town that the band originated in told Daily Mail: “I love my Kalush. My wife and I have been watching until 1 am. And we were happy to win. I was jumping. I was in seventh heaven.” 74-year-old Petro Yugan continued to say that “I also want us to end the war as fast as possible, and it would be an even bigger victory.”

Image credits: eurovision

“I was jumping. I was in seventh heaven,” said a 74-year-old Ukrainian who’d watched his country win the contest

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Image credits: Haraldo N

Kalush Orchestra was given special permission to travel to the contest, traveling by land to Poland, before flying out to Turin. One band member stayed in Ukraine to fight.

Oleh said that after they got home, they would take off their stage outfits and wear the uniform of the Ukrainian resistance, joining their band member in the fight: “Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight for however long is necessary.”

The message of Stefania reached the hearts of many, as shown with a record-breaking 439 public votes

Image credits: Haraldo N

Ukraine had been the odds-on favorite to win this year’s ESC, yet it was not a straightforward victory. As discussed by Deutsche Welle (DW), the national jury votes had overwhelmingly favored the United Kingdom’s Sam Ryder and his impressive falsetto rendering of Space Man. However, the message of Stefania reached the hearts of viewers at home.

“We came here with a sad song and just the message that, on the contrary, we need to draw attention to ourselves. They are trying to destroy our culture right now, and we are here now to show everyone that our culture is alive,” Oleh had told DW, explaining why the band chose to participate in the contest despite the war. “Our music is alive and very interesting, it has something unique, its own identity and a very beautiful signature,” he added.

Kalush Orchestra will be joining others on the battlefield. The group will also be selling the statue in order to raise funds for war efforts

Image credits: LH Daily News

Traditionally the winner hosts the following year’s competition. However, given the current situation in Ukraine, the EBU might reconsider staging the event in Kyiv.

It is contemplated that the runner-up might host instead, or the host will be chosen from one of the “big five” countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, who are guaranteed direct entry into the final, due to their financial contributions to the event as a whole.

Many people have called the win a ‘pity vote,’ accusing the contest of turning into a political rally rather than a song contest, with many artists proudly holding up the Ukrainian flag next to their own or neatly hiding it in their sets.

However, we need to remember the purpose of Eurovision. First held in 1956, it was conceived through a desire to unite European countries through cross-border television broadcasts following World War II. So whether you agree with the win or disagree, one thing is for certain – Europe is united with Ukraine in their time of need.

Whether you agree with this year’s victor or not, one thing is clear – Europe stands with Ukraine

Image credits: Eurovision Song Contest

The war is currently, at the point of writing, at its 83rd day. According to UNHRC, more than 6.2M people have become refugees, with many more uprooting their lives and moving within Ukraine to seek safety.

Casualties and wounded range in the multiple thousands, but we’ll get closer to the actual numbers at the end of the war. If you’d like to support Ukraine, I will leave a link here; just click on the highlighted text and it will take you there.

You can watch the warm welcome here

@sashkatab Happy to come back to Ukraine 🇺🇦❤ #ukraine #backstage #kalushorchestra #eurovision2022 #україна ♬ оригинальный звук – Sashka Tab

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Did you enjoy Ukraine’s song? Who was your favorite? Otherwise, I bid you a safe day!

People have shown their love and respect for the song, even if it wasn’t their go-to winner. We hope to see your respectful opinions as well

The post Stefania Rings Out At Polish Border As Eurovision 2022 Winners Are Honored On Their Way Home first appeared on Bored Panda.

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