Why is 尾牙 called 尾牙?

I’ve asked a couple of local friends but no one could come up with an answer…
Would you guys know it?

It’s the tail touching the tooth. The significance of the tooth is change while the tail symbolizes pain and anguish

From the little bit I read in the book in this link, I guess it has something to do with Tudigong, the Land God.

The book in this other link says that touya (頭牙) is the “head” celebration and that weiya (尾牙) is the “tail” celebration, the head being the beginning, I guess, and the tail being the end. I guess these two words mean celebrations at the beginning and end of the Chinese year.

From looking around on the Internet, I guess there is some difference of opinion about the meaning or origin of ya (牙). Some sources say it means, or has at one time or another meant, broker or agent. In fact, my paperback Far East Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary gives broker as one of the meanings. There seems to be an implication that broker equals merchant or businessman, and that the tooth character has been substituted for the original character (I get the impression that that sort of substitution happens from time to time in written Chinese). But other sources think seem to think the ya in touya and weiya just means tooth.

Anyway, this is all 'way above my pay grade. :slight_smile:

Edited to add: Hey, now, I may have learned a little something today.

Edited to add again:

Reinforcing the idea that the tooth character (牙) has to do with business. Tonight I’ve been trying to figure out the chéngyǔ (成語) sāngūliùpó (三姑六婆), with limited luck, but I stumbled onto a Google results page containing discussions of it, in which one of the six pó (婆) mentioned was 牙婆 (買賣人口) (yápó (mǎimài rénkǒu)), and Google Translate translates the part in parentheses as something like “trading population” or “buying and selling population.”

So I guess that that “tooth” is, after all, associated with business.