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September 2009  Issue 81

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  


September is busy as usual, what with Labor Day in the U.S. and Independence Day in Mexico, to say nothing of Robin’s “Best Shirt Award”, HST and ISS fly-overs, the U.S. Open, Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, and the Autumnal Equinox.


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Birthdays and Anniversaries
2          Cristina Sebe 
3          Gary Clements
5          Claudia Tolenterio
7          Scott Brown
10        Cheryl McClendon
14        Marry Henderson
14        Gabi Orvananos
16        Jen Smith
16        Shari Stern
16        Jackie Power
18        Denny & Diane Mahan Anniversary
18        Dave & Laura Bush Wolfe Anniversary
23        Valerie Nejame
24        Lauren Haynes
25        Macon Gravlee
25        Janet Thurber
27        Ryan Fredette
27        Robert Fredette
30        Richard Pargot

 There must be more than this.  Let’s hear about YOUR birthday before it happens.

 Missed August Birthdays / Anniversary

Nada.  Got every last one of them the first time around.


In Latin, septem means "seven" and septimus means "seventh"; September was in fact the seventh month of the Roman calendar until 153 BC.

Virgo - August 24 – September 23
Libra - September 23 - October 23

 September Birthstone: Sapphire
Sapphire is the modern September birthstone and is a variety of the mineral species corundum.  Sapphires occur in all colors of the rainbow with the exception of red, which is ruby.  The name corundum comes from the ancient Sanskrit "kuruvindam", while the name "Sapphire" comes from the Persian word "safir", meaning "beloved of Saturn", (or Greek sapphiros).

September Birthday Flower: Aster
The September birthday flower is the aster, which is often used to accent different types of mixed flower arrangements.  In addition to representing daintiness, asters are also known as a symbol of love.


    During the first two weeks of August there were a number “comings”:

  • Dan & Dave
  • Phill & Lisa Combs
  • Rod & Joyce Flake
  • Ron Stern
  • Hurley Hackler
  • Bob Mulgrew returned from a family visit up north

In mid to late August we had the return of:
Bente Palmer

·         There was a reported Oveta Vardell sighting in South Akumal, but . . .

  • Pat & Cheryl Ragan were here for the last 8 days of August

  • Terry & Lisa Turner are here now


  • Mary Henderson and Linda Tate have gone to California on a shopping trip for the store.



A rare meteor shower predicted to hit Earth on 1 September should give astronomers only their second chance to study an ancient comet's crust.  It could also help them develop a warning system against an otherwise insidious threat - a comet aimed at Earth from the dark fringes of the solar system.

September's shower, called the alpha Aurigids, has only been seen three times before, in 1935, 1986 and 1994.  The reason for this elusiveness is the shower's unusual origin.

         Most meteor showers are caused by short-period comets, dirty iceballs that loop around the inner solar system on orbits lasting less than 200 years, shedding debris each time they approach the Sun's heat.  This debris builds up into a broad band along the comet's orbit.  Every year, when we pass through, it burns up in the atmosphere and appears as shooting stars.

The Aurigids come from a comet that takes 2000 years to orbit the Sun. With such infrequent visits, Comet Kiess can't build up a broad dust band; it only generates a narrow trail of debris each time.

The best view of the meteors will be from the west coast of North America, before dawn on 1 September.  Based on past showers, there should be up to 200 bright meteors visible per hour, and they may have an unusual blue-green color.

The shower probably won't return for at least 50 years, according to The Staff’s calculations. "It's a once in a lifetime event."


Come one, come all, to the Beach Bar, where we’ll have a ball.

It’s time for another “Best Shirt Award”, which is held on the first Friday of each month during Happy Hour at the Lol Ha Beach Bar. 

This award is based on Robin’s penchant for good, classy Beach Bar shirts, and The Akumalian Staff is scheduled to be the judge and jury as Mary is out of town.  And, as we go to print the criteria are still somewhat nebulous, and they seem to be changing as we move into Fall.

The August competition drew a huge number of contestants from all over the world, and the winner was Michael Schwartz.  See the photos at August Best Shirt.


The Full Harvest Moon is on September 4, 17:05 AST, and it is always the full Moon occurring nearest to the Autumnal Equinox.  The Harvest Moon usually comes in September, but (on average) about every three or four years it will fall in early October.  At the peak of the harvest, Maya can work into the night by the light of this moon.  Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the Yucatan, and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much Central America. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice — the chief Mayan staples — are now ready for gathering.


If the Best Shirt Award and the Full Moon were not enough for Friday, September 4th, The Akumalian Staff has also arranged to have the International Space Station (ISS) fly directly over Akumal on the 4th at 8:10pm.  Get out on the beach or up on the roof and watch as the ISS comes out of the SW heading towards the NNE at around 8:09pm.  Set your watches and clocks with the atomic clock at the Heavens Above web site at .  The co-ordinates for Akumal are 20.4170°N, 87.3000°W.

And, the ISS will be back over Akumal on Sunday, September 6 at 7:24pm going in basically the same flight path.


The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) should also be visible over Akumal on Sunday, September 6, albeit in the morning at 6:11am.  The flight path will be coming out of the WNW in an ENE direction.

On Monday, September 7, the fly-over will be a little further south at 6:09am, and it will basically be in the same direction.



Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that takes place on the first Monday of September; i.e. September 1st.

The origins of the American Labor Day can be traced back to the Knights of Labor in the United States and a parade organized by them on September 5, 1882 in New York City.  They were inspired by an annual labor parade held in Toronto, Canada.  In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event.  Other labor organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen's Association favored a May 1 holiday.  With the event of Chicago's Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, president Grover Cleveland believed that a May 1 holiday could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots - May 1st is also the high holy day of communism or Marxism.  Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day.

Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s.  The September date has remained unchanged, even though the government was encouraged to adopt May 1 as Labor Day, the date celebrated by the majority of the world.  Moving the holiday, in addition to breaking with tradition, could have been viewed as aligning the U.S. labor movements with internationalist sympathies.

Labor Day is generally regarded simply as a day of rest and, unlike May Day, political demonstrations are rare.  Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events.  Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer.  Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for surfing parties before returning to school.


Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar.  During Ramadan, all observant Muslims observe the Fast of Ramadan between dawn (fajr), and sunset (maghrib).

During Ramadan evenings, Muslims eat small meals and visit with friends and family.  It is a time of worship and contemplation.  A time to strengthen family and community ties.

Ramadan ends with the festival of Eid al-Fitr.

What most people don't know is that Ramadan is more than refraining from food and drink, but the follower must not partake in gossip, unlawful activities or thoughts.  Worshippers must not look at unlawful things.  Of course, those who are ill or small children do not fast.  Ramadan is basically the spiritual cleansing of the soul through self restraint.

The sudhoor is the light meal eaten prior to daylight.  The fast begins after this meal and resumes until sundown. 

The iftar is when the fast ends for the day and a halal meal may be eaten.  Any type of food may be eaten, however, the most popular are honey, breads, figs, dates, fruits, and olives.

It is popular is some cultures for families to host "iftar meals", in which families and neighbors will come for the evening meal.

Eid al Fitr.  The Eid is a 3 day festival following the end of Ramadan.  During this time, Muslims recognize the poor and give to charity and to celebrate the blessings of Ramadan.


The US Open that more than 650,000 fans will enjoy this year at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center bears, in many ways, little resemblance to the tournament started 127 years ago.  It has evolved from an exclusive men's singles and doubles tournament in 1881 to a two-week sports and entertainment extravaganza, changing its name from the U.S Championships to the US Open and its location from Rhode Island to Pennsylvania to its current home in Flushing, N.Y.


The impetus for a National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia.  Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes.  She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide.

President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. 

Ryan Fredette’s grandparents will be celebrating without him in Akumal, but they will be there with him in Massachusetts for his birthday.



 Home Insurance
For some of us, it’s that time of the year.  Casa Colibri was recently renewed (with Luis  Lobo and AXA) and surprisingly, the policy and premium stayed exactly the same as last year. 

It has been confirmed: they are building and overpass on MX307 at the Puerto Morales intersection, and it is in-line with the highway, just like at Puerto Aventuras.


The stage for the upheaval and dissatisfaction that gave rise to Mexican independence was set by political and economic changes in Europe and its American colonies of the late 18th and 19th centuries.  The French revolution and Napoleonic wars diverted attention of Spain from its colonies leaving a vacuum and increasing dissatisfaction and desire for local government.  The forced removal of Ferdinand VII from the Spanish thrown and his replacement by Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, presented opportunity for Mexican intelligentsia to promote independence in the name of the legitimate Spanish king. 

From its inception the colonial government of New Spain was dominated by Spanish born Peninsulares or Guachapins, who held most leadership positions in the church and government, in contrast to Mexican-born Criollos (Creoles) who were the ten to one majority.  Neither the Peninsulares nor upper class Criollos desired to involve the masses of native Indians and mestizos in government or moves for local control. 

In 1808, the Peninsulares learned of Viceroy Jose de Iturrigaray’s intent to form a junta with Creole factions, a move that he thought might make him King of an independent Mexican kingdom.  In an armed attack on the palace, Peninsulares arrested Iturrigaray and replaced him with puppet Pedro Garibay after which they carried out bloody reprisals against Criollos, who were suspected of disloyalty.  Although reform movements paused, political and economic instability in Europe continued as well as hardship and unrest in the Americas.

One liberal organization that was forced underground was the Literary Club of Queretaro which formed for intellectual discussion, but in practice became a planning organization for revolution.  Independence- and reform-oriented thinkers also began to consider enlisting the native Indian, mestizo and lower class masses in wresting control from the Peninsulares and in armed independence movements.  Queretaro was an important agricultural region that had suffered extensively by economic stalemate and failure.  An active member of the group was Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a well-educated liberal priest who questioned policies of the church including clerical celibacy, banning certain literature, infallibility of the pope and the virgin birth of Christ.  Hidalgo became the curator of Dolores in 1803 with primarily an Indian congregation whose languages he spoke and to whom he administered practical skills of life, as much as religious doctrine.  In Queretaro, Hidalgo met Capt. Ignacio Allende, a revolutionary thinker in the Spanish army.  In spring 1810, Allende and Hidalgo planned an uprising for December of the year that leaked out to Spanish authorities and their arrest was ordered.

In September 1810, Father Hidalgo was forced to prematurely distribute the Grito de Delores to his parishoners and nearby residents which was an appeal for social and economic reform.  With little organization and no training, essentially a mob of thousands of primarily Indians and mestizos overwhelmed royal forces in Guanajuato, and proceeded to murder and loot Peninsulares, Criollos and other "whites" in their path.  The force continued to Mexico City and defeated royalist on the outskirts, but did not enter and occupy the city, after which the ragged revolutionary army returned home.

Hidalgo and his Creole officers were later able to assemble an army of 80,000 by payment with looted Peninsulare gold and assets.  Viceroy Francisco Javier Venegas, and his soon to be successor, Gen. Felix Maria Calleja del Rey, responded to the insurgency with a vengeance, and in January 1811 Hidalgo suffered a serious defeat outside Guadalajara where rebel forces were routed at Calderon Bridge.  Bloody retaliation followed by mass executions of suspected rebel sympathizers by Spanish crown forces under Viceroy Calleja del Rey.  Hidalgo and associates turned toward the northern provinces Nuevo Santander, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Texas for refuge, where local sympathy for the rebellion and independence continued. 

Royalist forces in Nuevo Santander refused to fight against the insurgents as well as troops under Governor Manuel Antonio Cordero y Bustamante in Coahuila.  As the royalist forces moved north to crush resistance, it was only in Coahuila and Texas that revolutionary events continued.  On 21 March 1811, a periodic rebel turned loyalist, Ignacio Elizondo, ambushed Ignacio Allende, Father Hidalgo and associates at the Wells of Bajan on the road to Monclova in Coahuila.  Hidalgo and associates were captured and executed in Chihuahua.

At the core of Mexican patriotism is Hidalgo's Grito de Dolores.  Every year, on the night of September 15-16, the President of the Republic "reenacts" the Grito on a balcony of the National Palace as the climax of the Independence Day celebrations.  To do this with historical accuracy is well-nigh impossible, for no one knows precisely what Hidalgo said.  The three principal contemporary reports fail to agree.  Sotelo's account, the most confused and least authoritative, stated that the Grito was a short speech, made from the window of the priest's house, to the first group of followers who assembled before dawn.  


Autumnal Equinox (Fall) September 22 2009 10:18pm AST

In the language of science, an equinox is either of two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect.  For the rest of us, it's one of two times a year when the sun crosses the equator, and the day and night are of approximately equal length.

At the autumnal equinox, the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

The vernal equinox, also known as “the first point of Aries,” is the point at which the sun appears to cross the celestial equator from south to north.  This occurs about March 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

On the date of either equinox, the sun is above the equator, and night and day are of approximately equal length; the word equinox is often used to refer to either of these dates.

The equinoxes are not fixed points on the celestial sphere but move westward along the ecliptic, passing through all the constellations of the zodiac in 26,000 years.  This motion is called the precession of the equinoxes.  The vernal equinox is a reference point in the equatorial coordinate system.

The Autumnal Equinox signals the end of the summer months and the beginning of winter.  At this time of year, days have been shortening since the Summer Solstice some three months earlier, and the Equinox is the point where nights reach the same length as days.  After this point, the Sun will shine lower and lower on the horizon until the Winter Solstice in about three months' time.


 Ancient stone masons built and aligned the Kukulkan pyramid centuries ago to project the sun's rays into a diamond-back rattlesnake of light and shadow.  On the morning and evenings of Equinox on September 22 and 23, thousands flock to Chichen Itza to view the same dramatic display.

In the fall the appearance is visible from mid August through mid October.

For optimum viewing of the serpent of light, be near the great courtyard which faces the western facet of the Kukulkan Pyramid beginning at about four in the afternoon.  The best viewing of the sight is from five days before until five days after Equinox.  Needless to say, accommodations fill up fast!  On the actual day of Equinox, people stake out their vantage point early in the day, as a great sea of humanity begins to deluge one of the great wonders of the world!


According the Akumal Council web site, a General Assembly meeting is scheduled for Friday, September18.  Check out the web site for further details and the Agenda.  See you there.






Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri.  In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year."  Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year.  This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.

There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions."  Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday.  The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar).  The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.

The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet.  One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue.  A total of 100 notes are sounded each day.  There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally, "big tekiah"), the final blast in a set, which lasts 10 seconds minimum.  The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar's sound is a call to repentance.  The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat.

 No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah.  Much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded.  In fact, there is a special prayer book called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical changes for these holidays.

Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year.


Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is one of two Jewish High Holy Days.  The first High Holy Day is Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).  Yom Kippur falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah on the 10th of Tishrei, which is a Hebrew month that correlates with September-October on the secular calendar.  The purpose of Yom Kippur is to bring about reconciliation between people and between individuals and God. According to Jewish tradition, it is also the day when God decides the fate of each human being.

Yom Kippur is a day of reconciliation, when Jews strive to make amends with people and to draw closer to God through prayer and fasting.  The ten days leading up to Yom Kippur are known as the Ten Days of Repentance. During this period Jews are encouraged to seek out anyone they may have offended and to sincerely request forgiveness so that the New Year can begin with a clean slate.  If the first request for forgiveness is rebuffed, one should ask for forgiveness at least two more times, at which point the person whose forgiveness is being sought should grant the request. The rabbis thought it was cruel for anyone to withhold their forgiveness for offenses that had not caused irrevocable damage.


There was another Akumal "Event" in August besides the "Best Shirt Award", and that was another meeting of AWARD on Sunday, August 16th, but there are no photos to record the Event. 

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